Across Scotland, and the world, we are increasingly being reminded that the climate crisis is not a far off threat but something that is happening now. Even as recently as October 2023 we have experienced extreme flooding events that damaged critical infrastructure impacting on the ability to supply essential drinking water and wastewater services. We must take action now to adapt to the impacts of the climate emergency to protect our services.
Most of us take these services for granted, available 24 hours of the day. Few of us consider where our water comes from and how it gets to our tap, the work it takes to treat it to ensure it is safe to drink. Nor do we think of the effort that it takes to clean and return safely to the environment our waste. Scottish Water is a high performing public body, delivering these vital services to the people of Scotland. We have invested consistently in our water and wastewater since the formation of Scottish Water in 2002, and continue to do so.
However, this is becoming increasingly difficult with the impacts of the climate emergency being keenly felt. Increasing temperatures are impacting the quality and amount of the water we take from the environment for drinking water. Intense periods of rain mean we need to consider how we drain our towns and cities to address flooding and reduce the knock-on economic impacts. We also need to support the circular economy by considering how we can use our bioresources from wastewater and reduce our need to use new natural resources.
We are seeking your views about how we and the water industry need to adapt to the impacts of climate emergency, both today and in the long-term. This includes what Scottish Water, Local Authorities and we, as individuals, can do. This will help us to develop the way we can work together to approach this challenge.
This is a collective endeavour and I am appreciative of the time you spend in responding to this consultation.
Màiri McAllan MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition
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