“Water And The Climate Crisis” - aquaNOW Audience, World Water Day 2020

25 Mar 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat

OOSKAnews hosted an aquaNOW Audience 20 March in Scotland, marking World Water Day. Footage of the live-streamed webcast panel discussion, with the theme “Water and the Climate Crisis” can be viewed HERE.

Scotland's Hydro Nation vision builds on recognition that water is of central importance to the economy of Scotland, both as a sector in its own right and as a critical resource in Scotland’s manufacturing, agriculture, food and drink, tourism and energy sectors. The aim of the Hydro Nation is to maximize the value of these resources in every sense, whether that be the contribution they make to the economy, or in how the quality of the country’s water environment contributes to citizens’ overall wellbeing and sense of national identity. This approach to water, and climate change is understood to be unique to Scotland.

The aquaNOW Audience Panel:

  • Mats Erikssson, Water and Climate expert at Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
  • Barry Greig leads on “Scotland, Hydro Nation” for the Scottish government
  • James Curran, Chair of the James Hutton Institute
  • John Matthews, Director of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
  • Kirsty Holstead, Hydro Nation scholar and PhD candidate in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews
  • David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews, acts as Moderator

Background on panellists and the aquaNOW Audiences series can be found HERE

Our panel discussed the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the intersects of water challenges and the climate crisis, and considers the coronavirus pandemic from water perceptives.


  • Barry Greig: “A Hydro Nation is a nation that manages its water resources as sustainably as possible”.
  • Kirsty Holstead: “Part of the ambition of a Hydro Nation is to create a place where people care, respect and think about water even more so than what they already do”.
  • James Curran: “There are so many interventions we can make in the water environment which would create better land management and better overall productivity in an eco-system service sense for us as well as managing the issue of climate change…It’s about seeking those multiple benefits, managing that well and getting the private investment in there to make it happen faster”.
  • Mats Eriksson describes the coronavirus crisis as a possible learning curve for countries to tackle challenges and learn how to deal with climate water driven hazards in the future: “Geography always brings emphasis to the importance of bringing different politics and sciences together”.
  • Kirsty Holstead has a wish that the pandemic will make people feel more connected to those affected by the climate crisis and perhaps initiate the behavioural changes needed to combat the climate crisis.
  • James Curran suggests that the outbreak will humble humanity and make us realise how vulnerable we are as a species. From this he hopes we will connect to Mother Nature and listen to our climate.
  • John Matthews remembers the first global climate conference he attended, and how the conversation on water has changed since: “The first COP I went to was in Copenhagen in 2009, and over that period we have seen a massive shift in terms of the range of issues that are relevant to the water community”.

Hopes for COP26 in Scotland, the Hydro Nation:

  • Kirsty hopes the COP will bring a sense of urgency, a will from political leaders to make sacrifices as well as funding for these actions.
  • Mats hopes the COP26 will bring an understanding for the linkage between the melting of ice and snow and future water hazards and the preparation we need for it.
  • James hopes for green infrastructure emphasis, and upscaling of private sector investment.
  • John hopes the COP will bring non-state actors together, that this COP will be operational, moving the conversation from the “why” to the “how”, and argues that water should no longer be viewed as a “sector” but as a “connector”.
  • Barry looks forward to welcoming COP26 to Glasgow in November!

Background on, and footage of previous aquaNOW Audiences, produced by OOSKAnews and supported by Scotland, Hydro Nation, can be found HERE.