One of Scotland’s most important – if not the most important – natural resources is its water. 90% of the volume of all the UK’s inland surface water is found in Scotland. And as if that wasn’t astounding enough, the water contained in Loch Ness is nearly twice the amount found in all the standing waters of England and Wales combined.
Scotland has taken another step closer to being the world’s first Hydro Nation with the establishment of the Hydro Nation International Centre at The James Hutton Institute’s Aberdeen site. The Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) is supported by the Macaulay Development Trust. CREW connects together research and policy developing international links. It runs the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Scholarship Programme and Graduate School.
Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Research at the James Hutton Institute and Director of CREW, said:
“The centre will ensure that policymakers and businesses have access to the right expertise for robust decision making, and will support innovation in the sector.
“In addition, developing the next generation of water leaders will bring fresh perspectives on cutting edge science and supports the wider ambition to enhance Scotland’s talent base.”
The Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation Strategy is committed to developing Scotland’s water resources to bring the maximum benefit to the economy. It supports international work with key projects being in Malawi and India.
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, in the Scottish Government said:
“This new Centre is aligned with ongoing support from the Macaulay Development Trust and will bring together all of the Institute’s Hydro Nation work in one place as the core of a broader offering to the sector.
“I strongly support the James Hutton Institute’s vision of state-of-the-art engagement and collaboration space for science to public, stakeholder and practitioner interactions which is so highly complementary to delivering our ambitions.”
It is hoped that as a Hydro Nation, Scotland will develop the value of its naturally abundant water resources; build on and improve the productivity of its water industry; capitalise on the international market potential of water and respond to the immense water challenges that population growth and climate change bring.
Beyond this, the initiative seeks to ensure that the environment in Scotland is protected and enhanced through the good management of Scotland’s water; also aiming to use greater water efficiency to make water an energy asset, and contributing to the global water debate.
The Hydro Nation Scholars programme is an open competition for PhD scholars to undertake approved projects hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame