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Water scarcity

3 May 2019

Man speaking at lectern
Professor Max Munday gets proceedings underway.

Wales’ most valuable resource, fresh water, was the focus of the latest in Cardiff Business School’s Breakfast Briefing Series on Friday 3 May 2019.

Chaired by Professor Max Monday, Director of the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff Business School, the event considered the importance of healthy freshwater ecosystems for the Welsh economy and its businesses.

Professor Munday got proceedings underway by introducing each of the morning’s contributors from Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute and how each will bring a different research perspective on the Water security.

Action to take

First up was Professor Isabelle Durance, Director of Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute, who began by asking if water scarcity was fact or fiction?

Sharing projections from the Met Office and also a particularly insightful illustration by Giulio Frigieri, Professor Durance showed how there is substance to the hyperbole that has dominated headlines for nearly a decade. And, despite interpretive differences, Professor Durance argued that clearly there is action to be taken to tackle water security and climate change.

Professor Isabelle Durance, Director of Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute

With the morning’s presentations taking place in the Public Value Business School, it was fitting that Professor Durance turned to the threats, opportunities and solutions of the grand challenges in water scarcity.

She explained how supply and demand is central to balancing the cheques being cashed by the agricultural, industrial and domestic use sectors. In order to do so, Professor Durance argued that innovative methods for increasing supply with natural and semi-natural storage were necessary.

She concluded her presentation with a positive message that the Cardiff Catalysis Institute is uniquely placed for sector-wide innovation in water re-use.

Partnership working

Dr David Crole, Partnership Manager Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute, followed Professor Durance’s presentation by explaining why water research matters to business.

Dr David Crole, Partnership Manager Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute

Once again channelling Cardiff Business School’s public value ethos, Dr Crole highlighted opportunities for partnership working where together outcomes can be achieved for the benefit of the economy, society and environment.

He explained how part of the Institute’s mission is to foster relationships of this kind, where researchers from different disciplines co-design and co-deliver research with stakeholders and end-users to provide integrated understanding and solutions to tackle global water challenges.

Julia Terlet, picked up where Dr Crole left off, by telling our business community about opportunities for industry to work with the Water Research Institute’s early career research community.

Julia, who recently obtained her PhD, is the Institute’s Marketing and Communications Officer and works on promoting the research conducted by our affiliated researchers.

Julia Terlet, Marketing and Communications Officer at the Water Research Institute

She gave a personal account of her doctoral research and how it formed part of the wider WISDOM project in collaboration with Welsh Water.

This project aimed to integrate innovative technologies and services to improve efficiency in the water sector and induce changes in consumer behaviour.

Tony Harrington, Director of Environment at Welsh Water, concluded the morning’s presentations with a short summary and some conclusions. Chief among these was a comparison between water prices across the EU and how these might represent different attitudes towards water scarcity.

Director of Environment at Welsh Water

Questions to the panel on consumer and customer experience, pricing, innovation, climate change and investment brought the briefing to a close, with Professor Munday thanking all for participating in discussions on such an important contemporary issue.

The Executive Education Breakfast Briefing Series is a network that enables business contacts to find out more about the latest research and key developments from industrial partners.

If you were unable to attend, catch up with this live stream of the event.

The next briefing, entitled Building a Creative Clwstwr, is on Thursday 6 June 2019 and will see Sara Pepper, Professor Ruth McElroy and Jarred Evans share the aims of a newly funded project which aims to put innovation at the core of media production in South Wales - moving Cardiff’s thriving screen sector from strength to leadership.

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