Water programme

Water is an essential resource for business, and for life.  Demand for water is increasing, yet water supplies are set to be increasingly disrupted by climate change, with periods of too much and too little water occurring more frequently.  Working collaboratively with business and major stakeholders, the Water programme will develop and implement action plans in three key focus areas, resillience, stewardship and innovation, led by the Water Taskforce.

Water: Securing the resource for future prosperityIn our first report, Water: Securing the resources from future prosperity, we set out why managing water is a critical issue for business, and outline the action that businesses need to take. 

Case studies and guidance are given to help businesses large and small take practial action to protect water resources and build water resilience.

The report identifies six steps for organisations to take action on water:

  1. Understand the relationship your business has with water,

  2. Create a plan for action,

  3. Manage your direct use of water,

  4. Manage your indirect use of water,

  5. Build resilience to flooding and water shortages,

  6. Collaborate on sustainable water quality management.

Key focus areas

Achievements so far

  • Worked with stakeholders and schools across Greater Manchester, including AGMA, the Environment Agency, Manchester City Council, Red Rose Forest and the CLASP network to prove the concept that non domestic customers could be incentivised to implement sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) through re-investing subsequent savings from surface water charges. Read the report.

  • Helped to mobilise action on ‘unflushables’ in partnership with UK Water and EDANA, focusing on developing a standard and inspiring behaviour change.

  • Scaled up the Christmas ‘fats, oils and greases’ campaign led by Thames Water in 2013 to help bring all of the water companies on board to work with Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to give away more than 200,000 fat capturing devices in 2014.

  • Secured funding from Defra to support food supply chains with water stewardship and signed up 12 companies to lead the programme.

  • Created the first leadership charter responding to BITC’s call for a new contract between business and communities.

  • Developed and/or strengthened partnerships with Water UK, WWF, the Carbon Disclosure Partnership, the Carbon Trust and the Rivers Trust.

  • Outlined an innovation framework led by MWH that will be tested through future projects.

  • Ran a Seeing is Believing Visit in Cumbria on flood risk and resilience led by United Utilities and attended by 14 leaders from EDF Energy, Imtech, the Peel Group, Riverside Housing, Mid Counties Co-operative, MWH, Marsh, the Met Office Natural England, Defra, the Environment Agency and the Rivers Trust.  This led to action to explore ways that energy companies can help communities recover more quickly and to some businesses thinking about how they can build resilience into their own operations and support the communities in which they operate.



Key publications

Key contact

Gudrun Cartwright
Head of Innovation and Partnerships, Marketplace Sustainability.

T: 07718 792 226