Companies collaborate on Catchment Management Declaration

Water companies, led by Anglian Water, Thames Water and Yorkshire Water, as well as businesses including M&S, Nestlé, Coca Cola and Asda, have agreed to step up action to address the increasing pressures to UK water through improved catchment management.

Around 60 organisations have signed a declaration which was created by a cross sector of companies with support from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), The Rivers Trust and Business in the Community.

The declaration commits the signatories to six principles and sets out the intention to create a leadership group to address them, along with a number of long term ambitions which could include:

the potential for minimum, locally appropriate water stewardship standards;

the benefits of an open framework to represent all data, evidence and best practice to drive continuous improvement and facilitate pooling of resources;

reviewing the existing governance frameworks for delivery of catchment management and promoting improvements that provide opportunities for working together at a strategic level to deliver multiple stakeholder benefits from single interventions;

establishing a common narrative to be used across sectors and stakeholders to improve understanding of the importance of water stewardship; and

opportunities to share best practice across catchments.

According to CISL: “The initiative recognises the importance of collaboration across the public-private boundary and supports the delivery of government’s 25-year Environment Plan which calls for a step change in how water catchment areas are managed. It demonstrates the widespread public and private sector support for solutions that can protect drinking water quality, reduce flood risk, and support the health of UK rivers.”

The declaration was launched at a Water Summit last week, attended by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water said: “It is vital that we understand the availability of water for all of us to use is impacted by the quality of the water in our landscape. Continuing to manage the demand and impacts on water in the future, while balancing the needs of the environment, will only be possible by working collaboratively across our water catchments. That way we can make sure that there is enough water of the right quality for all our needs.”