Towards A Common Waters Policy with Megan Clinch
Catchment Base

We went on a journey to find out what was causing flooding in the Calder catchment, how it related to the climate emergency and what we can do about it. Towards a Common Waters Policy is the result of that journey.

Commissioned by Arts Catalyst as part of their Test Site Series. The wider project spanned five years and included Working Waters, at the heart of the project was a conversation that went back and forth between Ruth, Megan and the participants.

During the research we worked with an array of people involved in flood recovery/resilience, conservation, and tourism. This included: groups involved in natural flood management (NFM), conservation professionals and volunteers, anglers, a canal boat company, representatives from key governmental and third sector organisations (local and national) as well as local residents and people who had had their homes and businesses flooded. A rich understanding of their knowledge, experiences and concerns were developed.

The Timeline
Cwp Timeline

All participants were sent a film entitled ‘A Report’, that summarised the research. After this a series of online meetings were scheduled. The participants were arranged into groups to ensure that they could engage in conversations that represented key commonalities and tensions identified by the research.

Inspired by the interactions that occurred around ‘Working Waters’, all participants were invited to imagine and speculate about how they might collectively nurture the commonalities and address the tensions they face during their stewardship work. These conversations and speculations then became Towards a Common Waters Policy.

The thickness of the policy evidence base means that it can connect people with their environment in diverse interconnected ways: technically, politically, culturally and emotionally. By holding all of these domains together and setting a caring tone, the policy encourages attentiveness and understanding when making and maintaining relationships with the diverse actors who hope to address climate change and flooding. Together these dimensions of the policy are where its efficacy lies, it is a call to action that pays attention to all dimensions of action: head, hand, and heart.

The Policy
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Towards a Common Waters Policy is a call to action based on the knowledge, struggles, ingenuity and hopes of those who we met and learnt from. People who we can all learn from when addressing the climate emergency in our own local environments.

Towards a Common Waters Policy calls for a transformation of how we relate to water, nature and the organisations responsible and engaged in all forms of flood action. Inspired by the concept of planetary health it insists that the health of humans and the health of the planet are one in the same thing. Given this, the Towards a Common Waters Policy provides a practical guide for imagining and doing rooted in the reproduction of social-ecological systems aimed at nurturing and protecting natural, social, cultural and emotional wealth.

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Stratification layer cake which was vetted by a local geologist
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The Publication
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A publication was produced to give an overview of the project as a whole. It includes a full copy of the policy aswell as contextualising essays. A digital version of the publication can be download via the link below.

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