Water Climate Discussion

The climate crisis is a water crisis
- WaterAid

...and the run-up to COP26 is the ideal time for the Water Sector to collaborate on climate change. Never before has the world been in such agreement on the need for action.

Following hugely productive sessions on 5 & 12 October, we’ll be gathering on 19 October at 9am GMT to collaborate on the climate crisis.

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The Water Climate DiscussionWater Climate Discussion conference has two main aims - to come together with one voice for COP26 and to link together individuals with shared climate interests:

One voice

We’ll be joining together to produce the Water Climate Call to Action for water professionals and policy-makers.

Many solutions

We’ll be linking together with others who share our specific climate interests. Allowing us to support each other with a host of different potential solutions.


5 October - Issues

9:00 BST The story so far

A whistlestop rundown of the main issues from our adaptation & resilience, nature based solutions, energy transitions, clean transport & finance discussions.

Dr Kala Vairavamoorthy, IWA Executive Director

Kala Vairavamoorthy is an internationally recognized water resource management expert, with a particular interest in urban water issues. He combines a strong engineering background with practical international experience. He has published extensively and has a strong international profile working closely with the World Bank, UN-Habitat, UNESCO, GWP, SIWI, ADB and the EU. He has led several urban water management projects for the EU, World Bank, African Development Bank and DFID. He is currently a member of the ADB’s Water Advisory Group.

He joined the IWA from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), where he was the Deputy Director General (DDG). He was the Founding Dean of the Patel College of Global Sustainability and a tenured Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the University of South Florida. Prior to that he was a full Professor and Chair of Water Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Professor and Head of Core of Sustainable Urban Water Systems at UNESCO-IHE. He is currently Professor (adjunct) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM).

Kala has a PhD and MSc in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College, London, UK and a BSc(Hons) in Civil Engineering from King’s College, London. He is also a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK).

Kala Vairavamoorthy
9:30 BST Let’s not miss

An overview of other critical climate issues for the water sector including process emissions and treatment improvements, network efficiency, water demand & collaboration

Dr Piers Clark, Isle Group Founder and Chairman

Piers is Chairman of the Isle Group Ltd. Isle is a technical, specialist, water consultancy, employing over 80 people and with offices in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the USA, Australia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Isle works with over 250 utilities around the world helping them identify and adopt new technology.

Piers was previously the Managing Director for the $1bn private equity fund Global Water Development Partners (GWDP), a Blackstone portfolio company. From 2010-14 he was the Commercial Director at Thames Water, the largest of the UK water companies. Piers was responsible for all of Thames Water’s non-regulated business activities. Piers also served as Interim Asset Management Director for Thames Water. Prior to joining Thames Water, Piers was Managing Director of Mouchel’s Regulated Industries leading a team of 3,000 staff providing engineering consultancy and operational maintenance services in the water, energy, environment and rail sectors.

In 2006, Piers helped establish an innovative funding mechanism for technology companies, called TAG (Technology Approval Group). TAG bridges the gap between venture capital investors and the water company end-users and has resulted in over $1bn being invested in water-related cleantech companies in recent years.

He is a Board director for the IFC-backed Haiti-based water kiosk business Dlo Haiti, and a Non Exec Director for Modern Water plc. He has a PhD in Civil Engineering.

Piers Clark
10:00 BST Roundtable Discussions*

We broke into facilitated thematic groups to define a complete hierarchy of water climate issues:

  • Categorising issues
  • Ranking needs
  • Brainstorming solutions

12 October - Call

9:00 BST Issues rundown

A rapid rundown of the main issues from each of day 1's thematic roundtables.

9:30 BST Call to action

We worked together online to draft the Water Climate Call to Action.

Kathryn Pharr, WaterAid Sr Policy Advisor for International Climate Action

Kathryn is working at WaterAid to ensure that water and WASH considerations, particularly for the most vulnerable, are part of international climate action to ensure that we are able to sustainable and realistically meet our goals from the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, which cross-sectorially heavily rely on resilient water resources and services.

She founded the Community of Women in Water (CWiW) in January 2019 to bring together women working on water issues from around the world; CWiW currently has over 600 members.

Kathryn’s past work on water, climate, and science policy and implementation includes working with the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, Arup, the Global Water Forum, the U.S. Department of State, and the University of Oxford.

Kathryn Pharr
10:00 BST Small Group Discussions*

We broke into specialist groups of 3-5 to test-drive the Call, considering:

  • Where do we fit?
  • Will the Call to Action motivate the best actions in our area?
  • Who needs to be involved?

19 October - Action

9:00 BST the Big launch

Launch of the Water Climate Call to Action

Cate Lamb, UNFCC COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions Lead for Water

Cate Lamb is the UNFCC COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions Lead for Water. She is responsible for boosting ambition amongst the water community, showcasing water leadership and elevating the value of water in the transition to a zero carbon, resilient world.

Cate has been Global Director of Water Security at CDP since 2012, where she has built the world's largest coalition of non-state actors working to deliver a water secure future. She is also a Council Member of the Science Based Target Network, an advisor to Stockholm World Water Week, and a member of UNGC's SDG Expert Network.

Cate Lamb
9:30 BST Answering the Call

The initial response to the call from a leading water utility - and a call to arms.

Heidi Mottram CBE, Northumbrian Water Group Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer of the Northumbrian Water Group Limited and Northumbrian Water Limited since 2010.

This follows on from an excellent track record in the rail industry where her career began with British Rail in the mid-1980s. She progressed through a variety of senior leadership roles in British Rail and, following privatisation, in Great North Eastern Railway, Midland Mainline, Arriva Trains Northern and Managing Director of Northern Rail, the largest train operator in the UK.

She was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list 2010 for services to the rail industry and a CBE in the Birthday Honours list 2018 for services to the water industry and business community.

Mrs Mottram is currently a Board Member of Centrica, the CBI, WaterAid, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is also Vice-Chair of Newcastle University Council.

Under her leadership NWG achieved the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development in 2014 and has been the only water company to be listed on the World’s Most Ethical companies list ten times. Northumbrian Water has twice been named the UK’s Utility Company of the Year under Heidi’s leadership. The Company was also named as Water Company of the Year in 2018 and 2020 as well as being awarded the British Quality Foundation’s UK Excellence Award 2018, one of the highest accolades any business can achieve.

Heidi Mottram
10:00 BST Action Discussions*

With the benefit of our networking matcher, we’ll jump into a series of 1:1 and small group calls to discuss:

  • What actions inspire us most?
  • How can we support each other?
  • What’s the next step?

Action Pledges

We'll complete the conference by recording our personal action pledges. These will demonstrate the breadth and depth of water sector climate action to the public and policy makers at COP26.

* discussions require Chrome, Edge (chromium), Firefox or Safari browser ideally on a desktop/laptop

This event is part of the 2021 Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival.

This event is brought to you by

in association with

Platinum sponsors:

“WaterUK has committed to Net Zero Water by 2030. Together, we will achieve this through passionate leadership, smarter collaboration and constant innovation.” – Paul Bresnan, Managing Director

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Silver sponsors:

Bronze sponsor:

A ticket for the remainder of the conference with access to recordings of earlier sessions is (£24). An individual day ticket for Day 3 only can be purchased for (£19) by registering at Day 3. An individual day ticket for Day 3 only can be purchased for (£19) by registering at Day 3. An individual day ticket for Day 3 only can be purchased for (£19) by registering here

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The Water Climate Discussion 2021 conference concludes from your local time (19 October 2021 9:00 am BST)


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