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10 steps to sustainable water

Water is our most precious natural resource. It is vital to people’s health and happiness, vital for the environment and our wildlife, and vital to our economy. But this most precious asset is in crisis. That is why in 2006, we, a coalition of leading environmental organisations, launched the Blueprint for Water, setting out 10 steps to sustainable water.

The Blueprint coalition’s 9,000 staff, 6 million members and 128,000 volunteers are ready to play their part in helping deliver a vibrant water environment full of wildlife. However, there also remain fundamental barriers to sustainable water management that only government can address.


Blueprint for Water 2010


In 2010, our rivers, lakes and ponds remained our most threatened habitats; targets for restoration and creation of wetlands were unmet; and River Basin Management Plans promised just 5% improvement by 2015. We therefore launched our 2010 Blueprint for Water to look again at the actions needed to achieve sustainable water.


In order to assess progress that has been made since 2010, the Blueprint coalition published its Scorecard in November 2012, rating achievement against the 2010 Blueprint for Water.


Blueprint for PR14


The 2014 review of water pricing is also a key concern for the Blueprint coalition’s members.


Blueprint for PR14: Environmental outcomes for the price review

In September 2012, the Blueprint for Water coalition published proposals for an environmentally-successful PR14, in Blueprint for PR14: Environmental outcomes for the price review. This document set out 10 specific proposals for adoption and action by companies, in tandem with regulators and government, as part and parcel of their plans to meet the needs of customers, business and the environment, in the five years from 2015 and 2020.


Blueprint for PR14: An environmental assessment of water company plans

In April 2014, we published Blueprint for PR14: An environmental assessment of water company plans, which assesses customer facing business plans in terms of progress against our targets. Our assessment assigns a simple colour code to indicate the progress we consider each company has apparently made to achieving our recommended outcomes:  green for good progress; amber for some progress; red for insufficient progress; or grey where the evidence presented was insufficient to reach a reasonable judgment.


We hope that highlighting areas where more could be done will be useful to companies as they finalise their Business Plans with Ofwat over the coming months (particularly if there is overlap with issues raised by Ofwat). Where there is the opportunity, we hope the plans resubmitted to Ofwat will reflect greater ambition for the environment – if so, we will reissue the assessment later this summer in order to reflect this.


Blueprint for PR14 conference: working with water companies to restore our rivers and wetlands

The aim of this conference on PR14 is to maximise the environmental and biodiversity benefit of water company projects by increasing understanding around the potential for collaboration and NGO delivery, including sharing experiences from partnership projects.


This conference is primarily aimed at staff of the Blueprint coalition organisations and the water companies who have experience of, or are interested in, working together to improve catchments. But it is also likely to be of interest and is open to others with an interest in improving the freshwater environment through a catchment based approach.     

You can find the full agenda here; to book a (free) place, please contact Kate Hand.