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Future proofing cities

Future proofing the water sector in the UK

Atkins released Future Proofing the UK Water Sector, a report which examines four possible future scenarios to determine how drivers such as climate change and population growth could affect the UK water sector over the next 40 years.

As part of the report’s launch, Atkins and World Cities Network hosted a high-level round table in the City today with representatives from government, insurers, the private sector, regulators and the water industry to discuss the scenarios outlined in the report, and what actions those around the table could take to ensure London remains a vibrant and competitive global city.

The scenarios are constructed around two important and highly uncertain drivers of change for the water industry – the cost and availability of energy, and the value customers place on natural resources.

Other key drivers are considered including population and urbanisation, climate change, finance, workforce and regulation.

Future Proofing the UK Water Sector has been developed in consultation with a large number of Atkins’ water staff, as well as experts in related fields, and has been tested with our water industry clients.

The four scenarios, which were developed in partnership with strategy consultants Decision Strategies International (DSI), are named the Graphene Era, the Wood Economy, the Steel Squeeze and the Concrete Jungle.

The Graphene Era scenario imagines a future where the UK has adapted effectively to the severe effects of climate change and the economy is buoyant, high-tech and green, while the Wood Economy explores a society where foreign sourced energy costs are high, water is scarce and customers prefer to turn to local or DIY solutions.

In contrast, the Steel Squeeze scenario looks at a world where people are squeezed by a high cost of living and little concern for the environment, leading to an expectation that government should fully regulate water quality and cost.

Lastly, the Concrete Jungle is a future dominated by the resurgence of traditional UK manufacturing, where consumer consumption is high and society trusts that we will invent our way out of any future climate or environmental problems.

For more information, contact Geoff Darch or Elspeth Finch.

Read the Future Proofing the Water Sector in the UK - brochure

Read the Future Proofing the Water Sector in the UK - report