Water21 History


Water for Tomorrow

Water21 formalises several decades of community water activism in Gloucestershire. Water21 was specifically called for at the 1997 “Water for Tomorrow” conference held at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Slimbridge. The proceedings and actions resulting from this conference can be downloaded by clicking this link:  Water for Tomorrow

The event was coordinated by Vision21 and sponsored by Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council, Gloucestershire Hydro Action Group, The Environment Agency and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

“Water for Tomorrow” was an unprecedented event. 90 people gathered to hear expert presentations, while presenting their own views and working with other stakeholders to identify the changes that would need to be made in order to manage water in a more sustainable manner for the 21st century.

By calling for the formation of “Water21” this event was recognising the unique role of water in our society and landscape and the need for a dedicated organisation that acted solely in the interests of better water management by following the same novel approach pioneered by Vision21, that of “a facilitating framework”.

A core team of Vision21 directors took forward this concept, after negotiation with directors of Severn Trent Water, by supporting the development of local (parish level) action groups. Following the severe 2007 flooding in Gloucestershire these action groups took on new meaning and proliferated. Such community led planning and ownership of embedded water management features is now recognised as vital to achieving safe and viable measures.

By sponsoring bursary funded student studies, Water21 has validated a novel approach to resolving critical flood and drought risk in the landscape that also provides a framework for wider sustainable and economic development. This approach is universally appropriate to most regions of the world.

Water for Today

The founding conference called for this process to be ongoing in order to achieve a sustainable future for water management and community water resources.

In 2014, Water21 Ltd., a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, was formed to carry on the work of the previous 25 years.