This report, ‘Local Water: The challenge and the prize for the ensuring council as a steward of water’, shows how APSE's 'ensuring council' model can help join up local government's responses to water issues affecting their locality. The ensuring council, which has been developed as part of APSE's research partnership with De Montfort University, offers a positive future vision for local government. 'Stewardship' and 'maintenance of core capacity to provide services' are among the guiding principles of the ensuring ethos.
The report's author, Philip Monaghan of think-tank Infrangilis, said: 'Rather than looking at flooding in isolation, this publication demonstrates how responses to extreme weather can be considered alongside local government's role in ensuring the security of water supply and use. Maintaining core capacity to deliver services, rather than being caught up in contractual arrangements, can link councils' strategic and operational responsibilities and ensure flexibility in responding to severe weather. There is also a financial argument for local water stewardship – with every £1 spent on flood defence saving £8 dealing with damage from extreme weather, not to mention potential local economic benefits from sustainable water technology.'
The publication includes case studies showing effective local water stewardship in practice. It also suggests ways that local authorities can maximise their water stewardship role, based on discussions with APSE members. It also makes recommendations to national government for overcoming barriers to local water stewardship.