As the UK’s population grows and planners seek to meet requirements for housing and employment, they must be mindful of the need to ensure that water and wastewater services can be delivered sustainably to new developments without causing negative impacts on existing services or the environment.
As well as growth, various other pressures on the water environment are forecast to impact upon the availability of water and the health of our watercourses:
- Climate change is predicted to introduce increased uncertainty, with a higher likelihood of both droughts and intense rainfall.
- The objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to achieve Good Ecological Status (GES) for all water bodies means that restrictions on abstraction are being introduced or tightened in many areas.
- Increased wastewater effluent volumes due to growth, even when treated to high standards, may prevent watercourses from meeting GES, and in some cases may increase flood risk.
- Many sewerage networks are already overloaded during rainfall due to historic growth of settlements, urban creep and misconnections.
A Water Cycle Study can form a key part of the evidence base for a Local Plan, demonstrating how water and wastewater issues have been taken into account in the formation of the plan.