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CP450  Climate Change, Algal Growth and Management of Water Supply Water Treatment
Project Appreciation and Objectives

Algal blooms in raw water sources can cause severe problems in water tratment and supply through physical and chemical disruption of treatment processes, increased chlorination by-products and the formation of cyantoxins and taste and odour compounds. Water companies need to ensure that effective tratment is in place to deal with algae, and manage reservoirs to reduce the potential of algal blooms.

Climate change may increase treatment problems in the future because of a higher frequency of problem algal blooms and changes to types of algae which cause greater treatment problems.

The objectives of this work is to provide a decision support process for the planning of programmes aimed at reducing algal problems in the most cost-effective way, taking into account potential future frequency of algal problems, technologies for minimising algal blooms, and treatment implications.

The work will be carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Lanceaster, to provide supporting expertise on algal growth and the influence of weather patterns.

Benefits to Clients

  • A detailed understanding of current and future localised algal risks.
  • Prioritisation and phasing of schemes for management of algal problems, identifying cost effective mitigation measures.
  • Greater confidence in dealing with regulators in relation to algal impracts on water treatment adn drinking water quality

Work Programme

  1. Understand the potential impacts of climate change on algal problems.
  2. Predict futue likelihood of local weather patterns promoting problem algal blooms, using the UKCP09 climate projection.
  3. Develop a categorisation system for reservoirs based on current and future algal risk.
  4. Review the technologies and approaches for minimising algal growth and monitoring its development, and identify any water treatment implications.
  5. Development of a decision support process for cost-effective selection of mitigation options.

Project Output

  • Spreadsheet-based decision support tool, with user guidance and supporting information.
  • Workshop to facilitate implementation of the decision support tool.

Related Work

  • Partner in the EU TOXIC project, producing best practice guidance for managing cyantoxin risk (2005) and supported production of the GWRC guidance manual on cyanbacteria (2009).
  • Portfolio project with 6 UK water companes to provide practical guidance no managing algal risk in reservoirs and water treatment (2007).
  • Best practice guidance on algal management for inclusion in the operating procedures of a large UK water company (2011).

WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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