Wells Cathedral, the view from ‘the Wells’ in the Bishops Palace. This is one of the most photographed and painted views in England. The beauty and the legacy is inspirational. One of the world’s foremost music schools, Wells Cathedral School was established in 909 AD. Now that’s sustainability! The students’ music connects past, present and future. Wells is using peak performance thinking to help them live their dream to provide a complete and inspiring education in a musically alive and beautiful environment as a brilliant foundation for life.

The city gets its name from the fresh-water springs that have bubbled continuously for thousands of years. In 1443 Bishop Thomas Beckynton gifted a supply of fresh water to the citizens of Wells in perpetuity. The only charge the Bishop made to the city was that each year the city masters should attend an annual thanksgiving service, which is held to this day in January each year.

The gift of ready access to drinking water is one that 20% of the world’s population, or some 1 billion people, have never known. More than one third of people do not have access to treated water and more than 60% of people are not connected to a water treatment system. Water born diseases kill more than 5 million people every year; far more than AIDS. Contaminated water is the primary cause of world mortality. Water consumption has increased sevenfold since the beginning of the last century and has doubled just in the last 20 years. Dramatic population growth, irrigation of marginal agricultural land, intensive use of chemical fertilisers and industrial pollutants have all served to make water availability unsustainable in certain parts of the world, especially the Southern Mediterranean. Parts of China and Australia are also experiencing serious problems. Global warming will escalate this problem to other parts of the world.

As a consequence there will be increasing opportunities for water purification and decontamination technologies, desalination and sanitation systems. Business can expect increased restrictions and cost of use of water as well as much more stringent requirements for treatment of waste water and emissions as well as of toxic chemicals and fertiliser that could enter rivers, reservoirs lakes and aquifers. Use of water for irrigation, especially of marginal agricultural land will come under increasing restriction.