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News & opinion

15 AUG 2018

Making waves

Population growth, urbanisation, climate change, development pressures and legislative changes all have serious impacts on how water is conserved, managed, stored and utilised.

Michael Gove’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January 2018, featured key goals and policies for water. These included reducing flood risks, creating and sustaining wetlands to reduce flood risks, natural flood management, water abstraction and valuation of natural capital. All are areas in which surveyors operate, with some opening up new opportunities for land owning clients.

Challenges and opportunities

Current challenges and opportunities in the water sector include: 

  • Water abstraction changes - the UK Government is currently planning to reform the water abstraction regime to protect the environment and improve access to water.
  • Flooding and land valuation – many of the environmental challenges we face are unprecedented, with the resulting implications significantly impacting on property and land values.
  • New markets for Natural Infrastructure Schemes - flood alleviation and water quality schemes are able to generate new income streams for farmers and landowners.
  • Water companies – what powers do water companies have in relation to land and how should landowners be professionally represented to ensure minimal disturbance and recover fair compensation?
  • Riparian rights - recent case law has shaped what rights riparian owners have over the use of water within a river or watercourses.

Surveyors and other professionals across the spectrum are well placed to influence the sustainability of the water sector, which is why RICS has partnered with the Environment Agency to launch the inaugural RICS Water Conference.

This is the first event of this kind for RICS. It’s an opportunity to debate the future of the water sector and the role of surveyors can play in making the industry more resilient. It will ensure professionals are best placed and fully equipped to advise clients on the current challenges and opportunities.

Future of the Profession

In addition to the RICS Water Conference, we are exploring the impact of climate change and resource scarcity as part of our current consultation on the the Future of the Profession, led by Governing Council, on the future of the built and natural environments.

The project, the Future of the Profession, aims to consider the changing role of professionals and how we can help equip the industry to meet these challenges, both within the water sector and others.