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Blueprint for water-10 steps to sustainable water by 2015 11.11.10

Water is our most precious natural resource. It is vital to people’s health and happiness, vital for the environment and our wildlife, and vital to our economy. But this most precious asset is in crisis. That is why in 2006 a coalition of leading environmental organisations, launched the Blueprint for Water, setting out 10 steps to sustainable water.

Four years on, during the International Year of Biodiversity, our rivers, lakes and ponds remain our most threatened habitats; targets for restoration and creation of wetlands remain unmet; and River Basin Management Plans promise just 5% improvement by 2015.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron MP has committed to leading the ‘greenest government ever’. The new Government has a chance to help restore the health of our water environment, with the forthcoming Natural Environment and Water White Papers offering an unparalleled opportunity to bring about positive change.

The Blueprint coalition’s 9,000 staff, 6 million members and 128,000 volunteers are ready to play their part in helping deliver a vibrant water environment full of wildlife. However, there also remain fundamental barriers to sustainable water management that only Government can address. This report describes some of the work we and others are undertaking and our priorities for reform.

Waste less water

Reduce water consumption by at least 20% through more efficient use in homes, buildings and businesses

Keep our rivers flowing and wetlands wet
Reform abstraction licensing to reduce pressure on rivers, lakes and wetlands today and increase flexibility to adapt to future climate change

Price water fairly
Make household water bills reflect the amount of water people use

Make polluters pay
Make those who damage the water environment bear the costs through more effective law enforcement, tougher penalties and fairer charges

Stop pollutants contaminating our water
Introduce targeted regulations to reduce harmful pollutants in water

Keep sewage out of homes and rivers and off beaches
Upgrade the sewage system to reduce discharges of sewage into urban environments and ecologically sensitive areas

Support water-friendly farming
Reward farmers who deliver healthy rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands, and provide a range of other benefits to society

Slow, manage and clean drainage from roads and buildings
Create a modern urban drainage network that can mitigate surface water flooding and trap pollution

Protect and restore catchments from source to sea
Regenerate rivers, lakes and wetlands in partnership with local communities

Retain water on floodplains and wetlands
Restore large areas of wetland and floodplain to create vital wildlife habitats, improve water quality and quantity, and reduce urban flooding

Blueprint for Water website

Blueprint for Water is a campaign of Wildlife and Countryside Link

Peter Shield

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