The water industry will have a vital role to play in helping deliver net zero emissions by 2045, the target set by the Scottish Government in response to the climate emergency.
Scottish Water has a substantial operational and embedded carbon footprint and has been set a highly demanding target by Scottish Ministers to achieve net zero five years earlier, by 2040. The Scottish Ministers have also required Scottish Water to increase the generation of renewable energy that it hosts to treble the level of its own use.
In future Scottish Water will need to operate, invest in new assets and refurbish and replace its existing assets in an economically optimal way (in other words, in a way that takes account not only of the cash costs, but also of the wider costs and benefits to society and the environment). This will be essential to maintaining service and helping Scottish Water achieve its net zero target.
Our final determination took steps to ensure that Scottish Water is equipped to address these challenges and to deliver the Scottish Ministers’ vision for the industry. This includes moving to a jointly agreed regulatory approach, one founded on candid and transparent conversations combined with robust analysis and evidence. The final determination also set out our expectations in relation to the transformation that will be required of Scottish Water in order to align with this new approach.
Planning for the future
The covid-19 pandemic has meant that we must carry out our duties using a significantly different working model. Given the success of remote online working our future working arrangements are likely to include a move away from traditional large office space and instead towards a mixture of hybrid working that allows for greater flexibility while providing overall sustainability.
We are currently looking at options for future working arrangements and will report on our decisions in our next annual report (2021-22).