Water is essential to life, yet it is not strictly renewable. With the increasing pressures on water resources that arise from environmental, demographic and economic change the water sector as a whole faces a range of challenges and opportunities and must innovate to adapt and grow. Consequently, there is a need for skilled people who understand the wide context within which water decisions need to be made, and who have the ability to identify innovative solutions for our future water security.

The wider context includes an awareness of:

  • water resource management and supply
  • Innovative methods for improving the ageing water infrastructure
  • water quality and pollution
  • water use, demand management and behaviour
  • the impact of and need to adapt, mitigate and build resilience against climate change and extreme events
  • business models, strategies and political drivers and regulations

In addition, there is a need to understand the impact that any changes to the water system might have on the Earth's natural ecosystem, and how water can be considered in a global context.

There have been many recent reports on the issues around the future challenges to water supply. All have recognised the need for greater innovation within the sector, and consequently the need for people able to bring innovation to the sector. Traditionally water has been addressed through distinct disciplines (such as water engineering, chemical and process engineering, environmental engineering, social sciences, biological sciences and so on). However there is a need for highly multidisciplinary, skilled people able to work across and within the various disciplines, in the societal context set out above.