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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Proposed Research

CP481  Asset planning for improved resilience against severe drought Asset Management

Project Appreciation and Objectives

The need to introduce temporary use bans earlier in 2012 to preserve water resources in the south and east of England following a prolonged period of below-average rainfall has raised questions over the water sectors' level of resilience to severe drought. The Water Act 2003 made it a statutory requirement for water companies to produce and maintain a Drought Plan every three years. Given other environmental pressures such as population growth and limited or no capacity for additional abstraction of water resources in many catchments, there is a growing need to understand the probability and consequences of severe drought across all asset groups (not just water resources) such that contingency plans and adaptation measures can be tested and enacted.

The objective of the project is to deliver a quantified understanding of the probability of severe drought across the UK both now and in the future, and provide asset strategy and policy teams with a comprehensive checklist of strategic and operational consequences of severe drought, by asset group, tailored to participating companies' levels of resilience.

Business Benefits to Clients

  • Best available estimates of severe drought probability for multiple sites in your water company area to inform water resource and drought planning;
  • A further opportunity to share experiences and discuss drought resilience issues with other participants;
  • Independent review of your company's resilience to severe drought, and recommendations for improvement;
  • Improved understanding of the contribution of individual asset groups to your company's overall drought resilience.

Work Programme

  • Provide estimates of the probability of severe drought of a given duration in each participant's region, both now and under future climate scenarios, using the best available observational data and multi-site stochastic rainfall simulation techniques.
  • Conduct interviews with staff from each participating water company to understand current drought measures.
  • Based on evidence gleaned and WRc technical expertise, make recommendations to improve resilience against drought across the asset base.
  • Produce overarching technical summary report plus confidential bespoke company reports, communicated at company-specific dissemination workshops.

Project Output and Implementation

  1. Comprehensive report aimed at asset policy teams and water resource planners comprising generic methods of estimating probability of severe drought and simulation results and summarising common themes from individual company research.
  2. Company-specific report detailing findings from the company review, that can be used by asset strategy and operational teams to improve resilience to severe drought.

Related WRc Work

  • Probability and Consequences of Multi-Year Drought (Water Utility Client, 2012).
  • The Implications of Cold Weather on Nitrification Treatment Processes (UKWIR, 2011)

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

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