The XV World Water Congress, which took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in May, sought to explore Global Water as a resource for economic, social and environmental development.

Among those who took their place in the impressive speaker line-up for the five-day event were water sector experts from leading UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn. Partner Gordon Downie chaired a special session entitled ‘The Search for Legitimacy – The Roles of Regulation and Competition.’

Among speakers taking part, there was a broad consensus that regulation in the water sector was justified because the sector was monopolistic in nature; public interest needed to be considered – safety of supply of water and sewerage services; and due to major market failures. Click here to read the notes from the session.

Shepherd and Wedderburn Associate Fiona Parker presented a talk entitled: ‘Competition without Privatisation: The Scottish Water Model’, in which the following questions were addressed: “Is it possible to have useful competition without privatisation? If so, how?” The notes from this session can be viewed by clicking here.

Gordon, who hailed a “truly outstanding group of speakers”, talked about the challenges around providing citizens with secure, sustainable and affordable water services and how there is a huge governance challenge faced by societies across the globe with regards to water services.

He added: “The Congress presented Shepherd and Wedderburn a unique opportunity to share and exchange ideas with leaders in the fields of water governance and regulation. We enjoyed making valuable new links over the course of the week.”