Working together to improve our environment by embracing and developing new techniques and innovative thinking whilst also seeking to enhance older proven technologies and utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience of those that still have a valuable part to play, is all part of this vital process.
The Environmental challenges faced by our Water Utilities represent one area where collaboration has the potential to deliver significant benefits. Everything from achieving their committed goals for achieving NetZero, through to reducing flooding and pollution and restoring the health of our Rivers and Watercourse and ultimately our Oceans. Striving for the Holy Grail and building opportunities that currently have to potential to deliver a truly Circular Economy, all of these are far more achievable by working together and achievable in a timely manner, as time for change is short!
The challenge for our Water Utilities is to remove barriers. To encourage every department and every member of staff to be inclusive and to solicit views and opportunities from every corner, particularly from those that have been denied access to the deliberation table to date. To recognise the expertise that others possess and to embrace it, not fear it. To remove hurdles caused by existing commercial interests, personal prejudice, or bias, and to replace outdated procurement rules that require an internal need and demand for a solution that is not currently available to be identified before allowing a purchase, hence denying access for truly innovative alternatives.
To succeed these responsibilities must include accountability and the appointment of an independent or transparent person or team, charged with ensuring all viable opportunities are duly considered and where possible developed. More time must be given to solutions with the potential to provide the most significant benefits. The value of these benefits must include every aspect not just the direct costs when compared to existing solutions. Compliance, prosecution, public opinion, third party costs, hidden commodities or consumables such as mains water supply, third party and uncharged costs that could potentially be eradicated, all of this should be taken fully into account. We have the potential to achieve significant game changing steps through working together.
In the unforgettable words of Martin Luther King; “I have a Dream” a Dream is that one day doors will be open and people will be fully prepared to listen, and then given the opportunity to consider, and the freedom to act. Whether that dream is ever truly realised, remains to be seen? But I for one am sure, that the World will be a much better place just for trying!