Hydro Nation Forum minutes: June 2019

Minutes from the meeting of the Hydro Nation Forum on19 June 2019 at Atlantic Quay, Glasgow.

Attendees and apologies

  • Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Chair)
  • Barry Greig, Scottish Government (Vice Chair)
  • Craig McGill, Scottish Government
  • May East, UNITAR
  • Rachel Helliwell, James Hutton Institute
  • Rowan Ellis, James Hutton Institute
  • Alan Sutherland, WICS
  • Neil Kitching, Scottish Enterprise
  • Barbara Barbarito, Scottish Water
  • Heather Anderson, Scottish Water
  • Tom Harvie-Clark, Scottish Water
  • Elaine Hutchison, Scottish Water
  • Sue Petch, DWQR
  • Allan Reid , SEPA
  • Maricela Blair, Hydro Nation Scholar
  • Chrysoula Pantsi, University of Edinburgh
  • Nick Mannix, Strathclyde University
  • Jim Panton, Panton McLeod
  • Peter Robinson, Scottish Canals
  • Andrew Allan, Dundee University
  • David Duncan, OOSKAnews

Items and actions

Cabinet Secretary opened the 14th meeting of the Forum and welcomed those in attendance. Cabinet Secretary confirmed that the minutes of the previous meeting had been agreed and published.

Cabinet Secretary brought the Forum’s attention to the agenda and briefly summarized minor amendments to the Hydro Nation strategy, which were agreed by the Forum:

  • updates on International Activities including to differentiate between Services and Research, and separately highlighting the Malawi Scotland Regulatory Partnership
  • update the Value of the Water Sector in light of the Optimat report

Cabinet Secretary introduced the ‘Vision for the Water Industry’ and issued a challenge to the Forum.  She noted that the Vision being developed by industry stakeholders aims to ensure that Scotland’s sector is fit for purpose to respond to future challenges and continues to make an impressive contribution to Scotland’s wider economy. She emphasized the legislative requirement for Scotland to be carbon neutral by 2045 and the importance taking this into account in everything we do across all sectors.

Cabinet Secretary introduced Tom to provide an overview of the current draft. Tom pointed members to Paper HNF 14.2 in the meeting papers. Tom noted that the vision has three elements:

  • work already done – Scottish Water have been in discussions for some time with DWQR, CAS, WICS, SEPA and others. It has been done using the ‘Disney technique’ – dreamer space, critic space and realism space
  • use of vision – it is about binding the water sector together to ensure coordinated action. Scottish Water have taken a top down approach when considering this in relation to its priorities for the next regulatory period
  • Hydro Nation – the vision would fall under the ‘National’ theme

In discussion, May noted that visions were notoriously difficult to develop, statements need to be measured and embedded in Industry. May also noted, drawing on her experience in respect of the SDGs, that targets and indicators were essential for tracking progress. Neil noted the lack of awareness of the public around the water sector and the need to be stronger around education. Jim noted the need to emphasize business contribution. Tom noted that Scottish Water’s aim is to make it as short as possible and it will take some time to develop indicators. Allan noted that he liked a lot of what was there. He agreed that it was very positive to have the 2045 date there but asked the Cabinet Secretary about ongoing finance to achieve this, given the competing priorities for Government. Cabinet Secretary noted that she was unable to confirm at this time but that there was engagement across the whole of the Scottish Government on changes and realignment of priorities. She noted that this was not just financial but governance and process. She was keen that reaction times were faster in the interest of achieving the net target. Peter noted the definition of the ‘Water Sector’ in terms of what the vision is trying to cover.  Barry agreed it may be time to review the definition.

Cabinet Secretary moved the meeting to agenda item 3 and introduced Neil Kitching who gave a presentation about the Scottish Enterprise commissioned Optimat report on ground-breaking new research on the size of the water market in Scotland. 

In discussion, Rowan asked about the insight into the export market. Neil noted that following consultation within the water sector it was mostly goods and services. Neil noted that although not in the report there may be underlying data and should anyone require further details to contact him in the first instance.  Rachel noted that it was great to see the growth within the sector but real concern on skill shortage. Barry noted that the Scottish Government had an economic strategy so the data was useful and undertook to contact economic colleagues. Jim queried the size of organisations consulted – he was pleasantly surprised on growth which could be led by larger companies – he noted that smaller companies were looking outside the water sector for growth. Peter noted that there was a lot of people working in the water sector and that there was a huge skills gap in specific roles. 

Action point one: Barry to contact economic colleagues in the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary thanked everyone in attendance for his or her views and handed the Chair to Barry Greig as she departed for Parliament. 

Agenda Item 4

Barry moved the meeting to Agenda Item 4 and introduced David Duncan from OOSKAnews to present on his plans for aquaNOW audience sessions.  David provided background on OOSKAnews and referred to paper HNF 14.4. David noted that the water sector was silo driven and there was a need to cut through this thinking. The audience sessions are about raising awareness and giving a platform to highlight the great work that goes on within the sector. Neil asked whether sessions were free – David confirmed they were – and noted that he would circulate details around his network. 

Agenda Item 5

Barry introduced Heather Anderson from Scottish Water who provided an update on the outcome of its water efficiency trial. 

In discussion, Barry noted that it was an interesting and important trial. He asked about examples of behaviour changes and the devices that had been used as part of the trial. Heather confirmed that behaviour changes included turning off the tap when brushing teeth and using basins when washing up. Devices used included shower timers and cistern displacement. Peter noted that it was a brilliant study and asked about geo spread and impacts of last summer. Heather noted that the Western Isles had more showers (two per day on average) and that there was not sufficient data on the last summer. Tom noted the slight increase in usage under the financial incentive part of the trial and noted that the average cost per litre was only 0.15 pence. Alan noted that he was not surprised – despite a 600% price increase in Denmark consumption had dropped by only 15%. 

Agenda Item 6

Barry moved the meeting on to Agenda Item 6 and invited Allan Reid to provide an update on SEPA’s water sector plan. Allan noted that the Cabinet Secretary had launched the plan last week. He noted that it was a water supply and wastewater sector plan. SEPA’s rationale was to change the way it regulates by focusing plans on specific sectors so that it focuses down into specific details that are more likely to take discussions beyond basic compliance. Allan noted that it was more of a strategy than a plan which would be developed following discussions. He highlighted page 9 vision and page 15 which included an example of what can be done for localised flooding in a sustainable way (Copenhagen). He noted the sustainable growth agreement with Scottish Water to secure value from waste and secure one planet choices. He noted that there are common themes to share and it’s a powerful message on collaboration.    
Tom noted that Scottish Water welcomed the report. He noted that it was an excellent approach to the wider challenge and steps that SEPA can take to support. 

Agenda Item 7

Barry moved the meeting on to agenda item 7. He noted the ongoing discussions on water scarcity and invited Sue to provide an update on this. Sue noted that pressures had eased given the recent rainfall, however, there was still pressure in the East as ground water had yet to replenish. Sue further noted that there were ongoing discussions on long term resilience to climate changes. Barry noted the Water Test Network which had provided a significant funding boost to Scottish Water Horizons and James Hutton Institute. He noted that HNWIS progress had slowed and that there would be an increase in marketing as a result. He noted the progress on the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management project and invited Peter to update. Peter noted that the project was approaching the implementation stage and that he would share the latest presentation with the Forum. Barry noted that the Malawi mapping project was nearing completion of phase two and that SEPA’s work on the Malawi-Scotland Regulatory Partnership was ongoing. Barry noted progress on the India project and invited Rachel to provide an update. Rachel noted that the project was due to complete in March 2020 which was currently monitoring how the modular wastewater treatment plant is working. The JHI were currently undertaking an economic modular in respect of the financial feasibility of scaling up the project. Barry noted that the Hydro Nation Scholar’s project has a further two graduates – Dr Bas Buddendorf and Dr Yuan Li. 

Action point two: Peter to share presentation.  

Agenda Item 8

Barry invited members to provide any updates. Maricela noted that Nandan had recently been awarded the UN 2019 Risk Award for the developing the concept of floating homes in Bangladesh. New scholar Victoria Porley was undertaking field activity in India and had received the Young Water Engineer Award for her presentation on drinking water purification. Maricela had been in Honduras to talk about her work on microplastics in wastewater treatment systems and receiving waters. Maricela undertook to provide further updates following the meeting. May provided an update on Gaia Education’s water course. May noted that under SDG 6 there were 8 targets – the UNITAR water course met target 6.B. She noted that the course had run three times – with on average 300+ participants and that completion rates had increased each time the course ran. May noted that 97% of participants expressed that they were ‘likely to use’ what they had learned. May thanked everyone for their support and noted that the course would run at least a further two times. Rachel provided an update on the One Health Partnership – she noted that there had been a meeting last week to strategize and confirmed that they are looking to secure additional funding and a parliamentary event.  

Action point three: Maricela to provide Craig with further updates on the work of the Hydro Nation Scholars. 

Barry thanked everyone for their updates, further thanked those in attendance for their participation and closed the meeting. 

Action point four: The next meeting will be held in December 2019. Craig to arrange new date with PO and inform members. 


Email: waterindustry@gov.scot

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