Water - The New Oil?
Monday 26 March 2007, 1230-1330
Biology Large Lecture Theatre
"The most important thing in the world over the next 40 years isn't oil - it's freshwater and people will be paying vast amounts of money for it." (Melvyn Bragg, at the Lowther Show, Cumbria, August 2005)
With climate change threatening harsher droughts and water scarcity facing nearly 60% of humanity, water is critical to any vision of sustainability.
This applies equally to the UK and even to the northwest, where up to 3m rainfall may fall on the land surface each year. There is less water per head of population in the UK than any other country in the European Union, except Cyprus.
Yet domestic water use is rising, and one third of all domestic water supplies disappear down the toilet, and another third is used for baths, showers and washing machines. What does this mean for the environment? What does this mean for the sustainable use of natural resources? Are our assets literally being flushed away?
Profile: Professor Louise Heathwaite
Louise Heathwaite is director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management in the Lancaster Environment Centre. She has over 20 years research experience in solute and sediment transport processes, wetland hydrochemistry and diffuse pollution.
Louise is a member of the NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board (SISB), Vice President of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, and a trustee of the Field Studies Council and Eden Rivers Trust. She is academic lead of the Northern Way N8 theme on Sustainable Water Use.
Louise has a First Class Hons. BSc. in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia and a PhD from the University of Bristol for a NERC-funded project examining the impacts of drainage on wetland hydrochemistry in the Somerset Levels. She undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford on a NERC project examining land use and land management controls on water quality of the Slapton catchment, southwest Devon before moving to what was then The Nature Conservancy Council in Peterborough as their Environmental Hydrologist.
In 1990, Louise joined the Department of Geography at Sheffield University as a lecturer and was awarded a personal chair in 1998. She moved to Lancaster University in 2004. Current research includes work on diffuse pollution modelling funded by NERC; evaluating the risk of pathogen transfers from land to water funded by ESRC-NERC-BBSRC; and quantifying phosphorus delivery from land to water funded by Defra.