Water-resilient places - surface water management and blue-green infrastructure: policy framework

This paper outlines how surface water is currently managed in Scotland, sets out a vision for the future and describes the components that should be brought together to form a coherent framework that will support delivery of water resilient places.

Vision for the future

Improving how we manage surface water in Scotland requires a bold vision that engages the widest possible range of players and a framework to support delivery.

The draft vision set out below for discussion takes as its starting point that Scotland will thrive because it is water resilient. It aims to present a powerful ambition that everyone can get behind.

Draft vision for water resilient places

Scotland’s blue-green towns and cities are thriving water-resilient places designed to adapt to increased rainfall, river flooding and sea-level rise. They attract people, businesses and investors because they are great places to be and because they are resilient to climate change.

They provide wide-ranging economic, social, environmental and well-being benefits to individuals, communities and the nation.[13]

The vision aims to:

  • Present a positive image of our future towns/cities/places;
  • Make the link between water resilience and thriving successful places;
  • Identify that planning for drainage and flood risk management (through blue-green infrastructure) drives multiple-benefits for our communities;
  • Engage a broad range of stakeholders to adapt their activities to contribute to our future water resilience.

Realising this vision will require a fundamental change to how we approach water management. By considering water first, we can move from battling to overcome its negative impacts, to capitalising on the positive contributions it can make to the realisation of our Hydro Nation ambition[14].

Our journey towards blue-green places and water resilience will require a shift from the current position where a few organisations are tasked with "fixing" all our water issues to enable others to carry out their activities, to the position where the effective management of water is known to contribute to the success of all our activities and is supported by a broader range of players.

Understanding the direct link between an organisation’s activities and water resilience will lead to more informed choices that have the potential to benefit those directly and indirectly affected by their decisions and actions.

This draft vision is supported by a framework that describes what needs to come together to make it happen. This includes five elements well known to flood risk management and drainage practitioners and a sixth that has come through very strongly in research for this paper and discussions with stakeholders and is clearly a very important factor to the success of surface water management in future. i.e. that all decision makers contribute to water resilience.



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