Opportunity knocks in the form of Climate Change Adaptation Reports

Mike Keil, Head of Policy and Research at CCW
Mike Keil, Head of Policy and Research at CCW

Consumers are more aware than ever of the seriousness of the climate challenge facing the planet. Media coverage of climate activism from the Extinction Rebellion movement, as well as public figures, such as Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough, shining a light on the issue has brought it to the forefront of public discussion.

Connecting the dots

Our WaterVoice research (pdf) shows that consumers understand that climate change may impact the way water is supplied by water companies. They mentioned greater water shortages due to less rain, increased demand for water, more flooding and water use restrictions. They also link these issues with wider impacts such as the amount of water available in the environment, higher bills for the same services and problems with the quality of tap water due to increased pollution levels.

But, customers need more information to help them connect the dots between climate change, population growth and the availability of water resources and impact on the environment with their own use of these essential services. Climate Change Adaptation Reports represent an excellent opportunity for water companies to do that by setting out the big picture that links these issues together and explain what they are doing about them.

On the ball

The reports are an opportunity for water companies to prove to their customers that they’re on the ball with tackling the climate challenge. Customers really want this information. The majority of customers (66%) would like more information about how businesses (including their water company) contribute widely to society and communities.

This is an opportunity for water companies to improve customer perceptions and confidence in the industry. Providing more engaging information on the issues consumers care about is one effective way companies can begin to change people’s perceptions on a number of things, including fairness and value for money. Bill payers want to know exactly how their cash is being used to tackle issues they care about like leakage, sewer flooding and safeguarding the future of their water supply.

A call to action

The most precious opportunity that the adaptation reports offer is to convert consumers into allies in the work the water industry is doing to adapt to climate change. Clear and visible information on this work will help to engage consumers and create a willingness for them to change their behaviour and attitudes. Water users everywhere can take small steps that all add up to big strides in the fight against climate change; for example, through reducing water use and using sewers properly by watching what they flush.

Share your thoughts

We’re looking forward to speaking more about the great opportunities presented by the Climate Change Adaptation Reports at an event we’re hosting alongside CIWEM on 24 February 2021. We hope you’ll join us at this free virtual event – held on the exciting and interactive Hopin platform. There will be lots of opportunity to network with a whole host of international attendees interested in sharing adaptation best practice. Find out more about the event and sign up today.