A water vision for Johnstone
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The Water Vision is based on ideas from The Netherlands which promote communication with the public on key water related issues in a local authority area. A Water Vision for Johnstone was developed in Renfrewshire, Scotland where serious flooding has occurred in the past and new, predominantly non-structural approaches to surface water management were demanded. The paper outlines the development of a ‘Water Vision for Johnstone’ which became a key outcome of the Interreg III B project ‘Urban Water’. The Water Toets (Assessments) are statutory procedures in the Netherlands which come into play from the concept stage of developments onwards to full implementation. They are undertaken jointly on behalf of the spatial planning authority and the water authorities to evaluate the impact of development on the water network. In contrast, the Water Vision is a less well-defined process to identify community needs and aspirations but in many areas the vision is essential to support the Water Toets. The Water Vision is initiated by planning officers from the municipalities asking very basic questions of their communities about what they required of the water network. It was felt that adopting such a proactive approach where virtually any question about water bodies and drainage infrastructure could be asked, would not be practicable in the UK and it was decided to assemble information about water issues in the area, the agencies involved and potential ways forward, before approaching the public. Johnstone was selected as a test area as it was felt that this locality included many of the water related problems that can be found throughout Renfrewshire. Key water issues were identified and a range of possible solutions provided. Problems, solutions and organisations responsible for different aspects of the water network are described in the document, using images and plans to facilitate the public awareness. Normally the man in the street would not be expected to be as familiar with the nature of water-related problems as the general public in the Netherlands. The Water Vision is yet to go to public consultation as it is currently primarily a planning tool in which council processes are embedded. However, it is planned that workshops including all key stakeholders involved in water management will be held. Those bodies currently responsible for water management will then be encouraged to discuss the various options and opportunities available in a creative and integrated manner. By working together as a team in addressing water related issues it will be possible to develop a vision for the future that better assists the public in moving forward together.