- 19th September 2017
- Posted by: Joanne Woodhouse
- Category: News
The WWT Sustainable Water conference takes place in Birmingham on 20 September. We will be exhibiting at the conference, sharing our extensive experience in catchment-based approaches and flood resilience.
As water and wastewater companies in England and Wales prepare for the 2019 price review (PR19), there is a high level of interest in the industry and in further progressing catchment-based approaches to sustainably manage water quantity (flood and drought) and quality issues.
Providing the evidence base for catchment-based approaches
The potential benefits of catchment-based, and more natural approaches to flood risk management, has generated momentum within government, regulators, the industry and in the wider public.
We are leading a research consortium that is drawing together a national evidence base for the Environment Agency. It is looking at the effectiveness of Natural Flood Management (NFM) and Working with Natural Processes (WwNP) to help deliver flood risk management benefits, and other ecosystem services, in catchments and coastal areas.
We are currently developing a suite of license free NFM opportunity maps across England for the EA. These are due to be publicised in Autumn 2017 to include the identification of potential locations for the implementation of gully blocking in the uplands, and the reconnection of rivers to their floodplains.
Water companies are also working on building evidence to support future investment. We are part of a consortium developing a catchment decision-support tool for one company. This takes into consideration interventions which could impact upon long-term nutrient loads, downstream shellfish quality, water abstraction yields and flood risk under a range of catchment management scenarios.
Our leading research was nationally recognised when Defra awarded a consortium of JBA and Lancaster University first place in their Flood Risk Management and Modelling Competition.
Demonstrating the needs and opportunities for retro-fitting SuDS
Catchment-based thinking doesn’t only apply to rural catchments. Local authorities are developing strategies for implementing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) across cities as a component of sustainable growth and regeneration.
We recently worked with Bristol City Council to prepare an assessment of SuDS retrofit across the city. The project combined both needs (drivers) and opportunities to locate those areas of the city where retrofitting SuDS can have the greatest benefits, considering flood resilience, water quality, amenity and biodiversity value.
Providing resilience in water and wastewater services
We have worked with water and wastewater companies over the last three Asset Management Plans (AMP) to develop their flood resilience programmes. Our new 5m resolution groundwater flood risk map is contributing to assessing risk from all sources of flooding. Increasingly, the focus is on service resilience and customer impact, so we need to understand the impact of a water assets flooding in the wider context of system resilience.
Strengthening resilience uses a range of measures from hard engineering, through to partnership-funded flood alleviation schemes, as well as improving operational preparedness for and responses to flooding. As a company, we are active in all aspects of flood risk management, including developing flood forecasting tools to provide utility and transport providers with flood forecasts at the asset-scale.