Above: Slow-soak sapling watering in a public park in Seattle, Washington.
If you drink water (and wash, clean, dilute, swim, sail, fish, grow food or supply water) join us in building a better understanding of our common pool resources, like water. Water is likely to be the first natural ‘resource’ in this country to come under severe stress from climate change. It will take all of us to tackle the challenge of droughts and floods, and of pollution and aquatic eco-system degradation.
By looking at specific issues like where our drinking water comes from, or how our coasts are protected, we can see into the systems they are a part of (you can never see a whole system but can take a view in through bounded examples). The process of seeing systems–together–is important because it helps us better plan for a climate-challenged future here in South Devon.
To open up this conversation we created the concept of a Water Resilience Summit. The Water Resilience Summit 2019 was a day-long event that took place in Totnes Civic Hall, co-produced with Westcountry Rivers Trust and funded by the EU ProWater programme. As part of BLC’s Climate Resilience Learning Journey the day offered experts and the public an overview of how water is being managed in the South West of England and the kind of challenges being posed by climate change. Around 120 people came to this free interactive day and heard 27 speakers from a wide range of organisations each give a 10-minute talk. 160 questions about water were generated by the community.
Climate projections for the 2 Seas area point towards drier and warmer summers with more extreme and concentrated precipitation events in the form of summer storms. This could result in a higher demand for water production.
The cross-border project PROWATER stands for ‘protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale’, and contributes to climate adaptation by restoring the water storage of the landscape via ‘ecosystem-based adaptation measures’. Examples of this are forest conversion, natural water retention or restoration of soil compaction.
These interventions increase resilience against droughts and floods and benefit water quality and biodiversity. During the next years project partners in Flanders, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom will carry out various exemplary projects on site and will showcase them to the public.