FIDIC: Better Communication Needed Around Water Issues
The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) recently hosted a webinar to mark the launch of its second State of the World report, titled: “Establishing the value of water – the business case for change”.
Bill Howard, FIDIC president, issued a stark warning in summing up the event. “If we don’t succeed in this area then we won’t be around in the future.”
He also pointed out that there needs to be much better engagement across the board in relation to the issues presented by climate change and water shortages. “The way we will succeed and get things done is via dialogue with the people who matter, including politicians, governments, financiers, but not forgetting the non-technical world.”
Mr Howard therefore urged everyone to “get better with our communications and dialogues”, with part of the focus also being placed on understanding the needs of society.
The engineering sector has a vital role to play in the world’s water management going forward, with head of economic and strategic policy at FIDIC Graham Pontin telling the attendees at the webinar that there needs to be an investment of between one and two per cent of GDP on water infrastructure to meet the UN’s sustainable development goals.
He added that this amounts to approximately $2 trillion per year from the $7 trillion a year infrastructure investment challenge that is currently facing the globe if it is to meet the 2030 deadline for achieving the sustainable development goals.
Professor of engineering for sustainable development at the University of Cambridge Peter Guthrie was another speaker at the webinar and he stressed the importance of engineers in helping to solve the world’s water challenges.
“The basket of stakeholders involved should be broadened so that we take into account the environmental consequences of what we’re doing,” Professor Guthrie asserted.
This was a sentiment echoed by Jeshika Ramchund, lead engineer (developments) at Bosch Projects, who told the webinar that many engineers now put sustainability at the heart of their solutions, rather than merely thinking of it as a consideration.
She also stressed the importance of linking up the “great initiatives going on in the technology sector with industry practice”.
Educating the public and consumers about the sustainability and environmental aspects of water is also an important part of the approach for the future, with the panel on the webinar agreeing that more needs to be done to bring people on this journey and help them to see water as more than just a resource that flows from their taps.
Last month, charity WaterAid created a huge artwork on the sand at Whitby Beach to draw attention to the impact that climate change is already having on water supplies around the world. Flooding and contamination of water supplies were among the main issues the charity aimed to draw attention to.
Climate change is exacerbating existing issues with clean water supplies in some of the world’s poorest regions, which are the countries that typically have the least resources to mitigate the effects of climate change, and that have done the least to cause it.
If you want to find out whether changing business water suppliers could make a difference both to how much you’re paying for your water and the environment, get in touch with us today.