World Water Day workshop

On World Water Day, 22 March 2010 - this year focused on water quality, ecosystems and human well-being - the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee hosted an interactive online event focused on Hydrology, Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) river basins in Scotland, supported by Be2camp (see the event flyer (PDF)).


The University of Dundee led discussions about the Tweed; and the Macaulay Institute provided comparisons regarding the Dee. There was also an international comparison of the Tweed and Thames. The focus throughout was HELP and the interface between land use and water management, and crystallising a stakeholder-driven agenda for effective river basin management in Scotland.

This innovative event brought together knowledge, expertise and opinion among HELP stakeholders primarily in Scotland, but also globally. Attendees, online or face-to-face, included practitioners and stakeholders in the public and voluntary sectors in the Tweed and Dee river basins - often distributed across many small towns and smaller settlements in often remote parts of the country. Hence the use of an online environment to support the day.

View presentations and videos from the day

The Policy Context

  • Shahbaz Khan. Chief of Water and Sustainable Development section, UNESCO Division of Water Sciences.
  • Chris Spray, UNESCO Centre at the University of Dundee, giving policy context, purpose and parameters for the day.

The River Basins

  • Tom Ball, UNESCO Centre at the University of Dundee, comparing Tweed HELP basin with Thames and beyond.
  • Susan Cooksley, Macaulay Institute, on the Dee HELP basin.
  • Simon Langan, Macaulay Institute, on stakeholder engagement within the Dee basin
  • Nicola Bissett, Tweed Forum, on the Tweed HELP basin

Focus on Water Quality and Flooding

  • Craig Macadam, Buglife, on water quality and bugs
  • Martin Marsden, SEPA, on water quality & regulation.
  • Lisa Webb, Land Use Policy Officer (Water) RSPB Scotland, on water quality and birdlife.
  • David Green, Scottish Borders Council, on flooding.
  • Chris Spray, UNESCO Centre - wrap-up.

The WWD workshop live blog


Speaker profiles

  • Chris Spray is currently Professor of Water Science and Policy at the UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science at Dundee University, having previously been Director of Environmental Science with SEPA for five years and chairman of the Tweed Area Advisory Group for the River Basin Management Plan. A wetland ecologist by training (and a swan expert by choice), he knows the Tweed river and the Borders well, having been the first chairman of Tweed Forum Ltd during his time as Environment Director with Northumbrian Water Ltd. Earlier work included time with the National Rivers Authority, Anglian Water and Aberdeen University, including studies on river restoration and wildlife conservation.
  • Tom Ball is a United Kingdom Research Councils Fellow on Sustainable Flood Management at the University of Dundee, working jointly between the School of Law, School of Social and Environmental Sciences, and UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science. His research interest is global change, ecosystem processes, the interface between socio-economics, legal regimes and environmental systems. He works closely with the HELP basin programme in the UNESCO Centre. He has recently completed reports on the benefits of Flood Warning for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Environment Agency for England and Wales, and on coastal flooding for the Scottish Government and on flood risk in the Thames Gateway for the EU CRUE-ERAnet project.
  • Susan Cooksley is the Project Officer for the Dee Catchment Partnership, an initiative coordinating local stakeholders in the common aim of restoring habitat and water quality throughout the Dee catchment. Following the launch of the Dee Catchment Management Plan in 2007, current projects include: the restoration of urban watercourses, reducing pollution from septic tanks, reducing diffuse source pollution, and floodplain restoration. Susan is a member of the North East Area Advisory Group for river basin planning. Susan’s background is in freshwater ecology and she has been undertaking and leading pearl mussel research, monitoring and surveys throughout Scotland for over 10 years.
  • Simon Langan has a background in research related to soil and water quality. More recently his research centres on issues related to catchment management. This work has involved working extensively on the River Dee catchment and its tributaries. Within the catchment there are a number of issues relating to the river and its ecology from such issues as: acid deposition impacts, changing climate and land management. Recently he has been working on the understanding of the impact of adopting best management practices to reduce diffuse pollution and increase biodiversity within and along stream margins. Simon has a keen interest in the ways scientific knowledge and can be presented so that wider society and non specialists can understood and appreciate the issues involved.
  • Nicola Bissett - Nicola has been with the Tweed Forum as Catchment Management Planning Officer since May 2008. Nicola gained a B.Sc. in Aquatic Bioscience from the University of Glasgow in 1997 and since then has enjoyed a varied career working for, among others, the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment and the Lochaber Fisheries Trust. Nicola has wide experience of project management and development, fundraising and aquatic ecology, all of which has helped contribute to Tweed Forum’s stated aim of “conserve, enhance and, where appropriate, restore the total river environment through effective land and resources planning across the Tweed catchment”. (Link: Tweed Catchment Management Plan)
  • Craig Macadam is Conservation Officer for Scotland with Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust. He is an experienced freshwater invertebrate worker and recognised British authority on Ephemeroptera (mayflies). Craig regularly collaborates with other leading researchers to promote the study and conservation of freshwater invertebrates and to deliver workshop on the identification of freshwater species. He also collaborates on a regular basis with workers in Europe and further afield.

  • Martin Marsden is the Head of Environmental Quality with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. He is responsible for developing SEPA’s monitoring programmes and for coordinating environmental improvement programmes. Martin previously worked as the manager of the Water Policy Unit. During this period he was seconded to the Scottish Government to help develop the legislation which transposed the Water Framework Directive. Martin has also worked in pollution control and as a biologist. Recently he has been working on the development of the River Basin Management Plan, the development of a new regulatory framework for SEPA and state of environment reporting.
  • Lisa Webb is a Land Use Policy Officer with RSPB Scotland, with responsibility for water policy issues including implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act and water industry issues. Lisa has an academic background in environmental biology and conservation and has undertaken agricultural ecological research with the RSPB, the Scottish Agricultural College and the University of Glasgow. More recently, she has worked as an adviser for FWAG and RSPB Scotland, providing conservation and habitat management advice to farmers and land managers.

  • David Green (BSc CEng MICE) is a chartered civil engineer with extensive experience in a number of different fields of civil engineering. Most relevant is early design and construction experience in drainage and waste water management and in marine civil engineering structures. More recently he has taken over responsibility for flood risk management within Scottish Borders Council. This includes taking forward major flood protection schemes as the first phase of the Council’s implementation strategy.

Resources

Policy articles and newsletters

Other materials

World Water Day features a wide range of events and activities, from professional conferences through schools and online activities, to celebrations of water in art and poetry. For example:

WWD/the Dundee event is also being covered in the blogosphere. For example:

World Water Day Poetry

Water-inspired poetry can be found on these sites:

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