Freshwater systems such as rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands are essential for life as we know it.
From providing our sources of drinking water, irrigating farmland and enabling many industrial processes, these blue spaces are also vital places for wildlife and human recreation. They can be glorious, lush habitats teeming with fish, darting insects and elusive aquatic mammals. We relish visiting these wet wonderlands, to splash, paddle, wander or simply reflect. They underpin our lives, our economy, and our society.
Yet despite the crucial role water plays in our everyday lives, our freshwater systems are in a critical condition. They face immense pressures and have undergone significant declines in condition. Plagued by a plethora of pollutants, and hampered by historic use and current abuse, we risk losing the species that call these places home, and the benefits that these watery spaces should bring us.
Next Tuesday 14th September 2021, Blueprint for Water will be launching its vision for the freshwater environment and the ambitious steps needed to shift the current trajectory. The vision illustrates the huge range of benefits that will be possible if our freshwater systems are restored, and three main areas of evidenced-based action required to deliver this.
As a coalition of 23 organisations, Blueprint for Water advocates for the cross-sector action and political change required to create thriving freshwater spaces – not just to benefit nature, or the more-than-6-million people we represent, but to secure the benefits that the water environment can bring, for the whole of society.
We envision a time when our rivers, lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands are restored to support an abundance of wildlife, where water quality isn’t a human health barrier to recreation, and these habitats are fulfilling their potential function in climate change adaptation. We will be asking all players, including water companies, authorities, planners, and land managers, to join us in making ambitious steps towards achieving this goal.
To find out more, join us for the Blueprint Vision Launch event at 2pm on Tuesday, where our panellists and audience will discuss what we need to do to bring our ailing freshwaters back to life.
Ali Morse is Water Policy Manager at The Wildlife Trusts and Chair of Blueprint for Water. Jazz Austin is Policy Officer (Water) at RSPB and Vice Chair of Blueprint for Water.
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
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