Climate Change Adaptation in the UK Water Sector

June 2022, TBC

A combination of growing population, land management practices, combined sewers, extreme rainfall events and public awareness of water pollution are creating a perfect storm for the UK’s water utilities – all against the context of stringent carbon reduction requirements.

As Emma Howard Boyd at the Environment Agency noted in 2018, company boards cannot continue to see extreme weather events, like floods and heatwaves, as purely operational. They need to put aside capital expenditure for resilience measures to ensure business continuity. They should also collaborate with other businesses, government, and local communities to drive down costs, and protect whole districts. Working in silos risks seeing investments and supply chains picked off one by one.

The need to avoid silos is illustrated by recent media coverage of CSOs and the lack of investment in treatment infrastructure to prevent future discharges of raw sewage. Why invest in technologies to monitor flows within sewerage catchments without investing in required treatment capacity or integrating models with wider catchment activities that can impact significantly on water flows during and after storm events?

Although we might be experiencing a perfect storm of challenges, this is presenting a perfect storm of opportunities: with agricultural subsidies shifting away from a simple focus on food production and more towards provision of ‘public goods’ it should be increasingly simple to design and implement landscape-scale interventions that knit together soft and hard infrastructure to deliver resilience across multiple sectors, whilst simultaneously meeting carbon objectives.

Call for Speakers

We invite you to take part in our conference “Climate change adaptation in the UK water sector” in which we will explore these questions to examine and understand the potential of available carbon-efficient management approaches. Topics include:

  • Sewer catchment modelling and flow management
  • SUDS / catchment approaches
  • Storm water management
  • Bathing water quality
  • Ecosystem services

As with all Aqua Enviro’s events, the focus will be on practical solutions and industry-facing research.

If you would like to give a talk, please submit an abstract for consideration by 18th February.

Booking will open in the New Year