Forward look: Towards a Water Economy
Good progress has been made in the first three years of our journey as a Hydro Nation. We will continue to develop the programme to build on the success achieved to date, supporting communities, and taking the global context for our international agenda from the Sustainable Development Goals. Knowledge sharing will remain central to our approach as will a strong focus on developing innovation and seeking out international trade opportunities for the sector. The overarching aim remains firmly fixed on maximising the value of our water resources in a responsible and sustainable way to make an ever-stronger contribution to the development of a vibrant water economy in Scotland, by continuing to address the following areas:
- Value creation - growing the profitability of existing and new water sector businesses through enhanced innovation support and developing export potential with key international partners and markets;
- Growing Scotland's international reputation and profile in water - we will continue to identify networks and opportunities for international collaboration and communication, supporting Climate Justice and knowledge sharing with the Malawi Government in particular, and as an active contributor to other global forums in water technology, skills and governance, as set out elsewhere in this report;
- Education including research excellence - building the scale and reputation of the Hydro Nation Scholars Programme and Graduate School, including the work of its first International Fellow
- Delivering for customers - with a particular focus on rural communities, we will continue to develop a comprehensive workplan to deliver sustainable provision options for the Scottish Ministers - we will support the Water Industry Commission for Scotland ( WICS), in the process to develop their methodology for the 2021-27 Price Review, looking to introduce a more community-focused approach to customer involvement, potentially building on the Customer Forum model to ensure that individual communities can provide more input into the price-setting process. This approach could help to identify community priorities and ensure they are better represented in the price setting process.
- Sustainable development in the water sector - we will continue to promote and support the development of more efficient resource use, and low-carbon service delivery across the sector, building on the impressive efforts made by Scottish Water, thereby developing and growing the value of our water resources. The Consumer Futures Unit is working with key water industry stakeholders to conduct independent research on issues relating to consumers and water, which will inform the development of policy, and the regulatory framework in areas such as the principles of charging set out under Ministerial objectives.
- Reporting on Progress - while this third report is the last report required by statute we will continue to report in a similar way in future.