The Scottish Government is delighted to support VIBES and the introduction of a specific Hydro Nation award within VIBES is evidence of that commitment.
The Scottish Government is working to deliver against its vision of Scotland as the world’s first ‘Hydro Nation’ and working closely with companies in the water sector is an absolutely essential part of our approach.
A Hydro Nation is one that recognises the importance and value of water within our national and international identity and one that manages its water environment to the best advantage, employing its knowledge and expertise effectively at home and internationally in ways which contribute to a flourishing low-carbon economy.
Water is of central importance to the economy of Scotland, both as a sector in its own right and as a critical resource in the manufacturing, agriculture, food and drink, tourism and energy sectors. With many countries around the world suffering the adverse effects of water stress, Scotland is fortunate to have a significant and high-quality water resource. This creates the potential to attract and develop opportunities for businesses or industries for which a large volume of water is a critical resource. At the same time, our vision is of a nation that husbands all of its natural resources responsibly, regardless of how plentiful they are.
Access to a highly-developed, diverse and specialised supply chain provides assurance that Scotland is an excellent place for water-intensive businesses, or any companies working in the water sector, to set up shop. All of this is underpinned by a unique and internationally-respected model of governance and regulation and an innovative approach to water policy which also helps to support Scottish companies looking beyond our shores for opportunities to develop international partnerships.
The challenge we have set ourselves as a Hydro Nation is to place Scotland as a world leader in a range of key areas including: the governance of water resources, the performance of our water industry, the role of our research community in developing ground-breaking international research programmes on key water-related issues; and in developing the value of all of our water resources for the economy.
In August 2014, the First Annual Hydro Nation Report was presented to the Scottish Parliament, which demonstrates the progress that has been made in delivering against our strategy. The report highlights notable successes for Scottish businesses
And looking forward, we will continue to work closely with our partners in the business sector, encouraging and facilitating better sharing knowledge and expertise to identify opportunities to promote and drive Scotland the Hydro Nation forward. Our aim is to maximise the contribution of the Hydro Nation agenda to the development of a vibrant water economy in Scotland and help businesses access opportunities in international markets.
Innovation is critical to the health of our water industry and the contribution it makes to the overall economy, driving down costs for consumers and helping to differentiate businesses by developing new processes, technology or materials that are more efficient, effective and cheaper than those they replace. Supporting innovation will be a major focus in the Hydro Nation agenda and that is why we are establishing the Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service to assist the identification and exploitation of key opportunities for Scotland to bring new technologies forward that can reduce costs and raise standards. This will help Scottish businesses bring forward their innovative ideas to market more quickly providing benefits to them and to the wider economy as a whole.
The establishment of the new VIBES Hydro Nation Award is intended to help raise the profile of Scottish businesses in the water sector, and open doors to European and global markets. We’ve already experienced success with one of last year’s winners, Dryden Aqua, being selected to go forward to the biannual European Businesses Awards for the Environment (EBAE), to be held in Lyon in December 2014 and we hope to see many more follow in their footsteps.