Without a reliable and sustainable supply of clean water, and effective and efficient wastewater systems, activity in the Northern Powerhouse would quickly grind to a halt. To date, conversations about the future of the region and its economy have largely taken the North’s water resources for granted.

This is the second in a series of Natural Assets North briefings. It considers the role that water plays in the Northern Powerhouse economy, the degree to which the region is resilient to the impact of climate change and other trends on the supply of water, and implications for policymakers at a local, pan-Northern and national level. It draws on conversations from a series of walk-and-talk events that took place across the North. At each event, issues of water supply and scarcity came up as important themes that policymakers need to grasp urgently.

Natural Assets North is an IPPR North project which investigates the natural potential of the north of England, including the quality of its landscape, water and coastlines. The natural capital of the North is immense, but its full potential is not yet being realised. This work is part of IPPR North's work on a Great North Plan.