Why don’t we think of water as part of the sustainability crisis?

Hilson Moran Director, Jason Horner, recently talked to Building magazine about how water needs to follow a similar sustainability journey to carbon

The built environment is the largest consumer of water and with demand increasing and supply dwindling, now is the time to change the way we think about the water we are using and how we design out bad practice.

With the South West and South East of the UK now classified as water stressed and with a deficit of between 800million and 3 billion litres of potable water a day predicted by 2050, water efficiency and water neutrality to date have not played a major role in how we build more sustainability.

The current stewards of the water cycle, and those with the ability to change domestic behaviour on a wholesale basis, need to be at the forefront of the change, incentivising lower usage or investing in water reuse systems including rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling.

Creating buildings and places that are mindful of water consumption and introducing natural measures such as wetlands basins and wet woodlands to recharge groundwater are some of the measures that can work hand in hand with biodiversity gain. However, the real gamechanger will be to take water on a similar journey to carbon, not just by reducing use but reusing and recycling onsite – at a community or placemaking scale – with offsetting any residual water demand created in our new developments by equipment reductions in existing built environments.

To achieve real water neutrality sustainably and affordably, collaboration across the industry is needed – including Central and local government, regulators, water companies as well as built environment professionals.

To read the full opinion piece, please visit Building magazine.

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