Ofwat Resilience Task Force Calls For Water Company Drainage Plans

An expert industry task group set up consider how the UK’s water infrastructure can become more resilient  has concluded there should be national wastewater and sewerage strategy, and that each water company should have a wastewater, sewerage and drainage plan, linked to SuDS.

The recommendations of the Resilience Task and Finish Group will feed into Ofwat’s policy reform for PR19 and beyond. The advisory panel was set up to consider the resilience of the water infrastructure of England and Wales after the 1995 and 2011/12 droughts and the floods of 2007 and winter 2013/14

One of the 10 key recommendations of the Ofwat Task & Finish Group, published in December 2015, is for water companies to “Establish wastewater, sewerage and drainage plans” from 2020-2025, “with a Drainage Road Map produced during 2015-2020.”

The recommendation says, “There must be national wastewater and sewerage strategies and each company should have a wastewater and sewerage plan. This should link to SuDS, wider drainage issues (highway and land drainage) and rainwater and greywater harvesting through the parallel development of drainage plans.

“Potentially these plans should be statutory, and there may be scope under the existing statutes,” says the report.

The task group suggest that the work of the ‘Delivering 21st Century Drainage Programme Board’ is a good model for developing the strategy and plans:

“This programme is UK-wide and comprises representatives from governments, regulators, operators, environmental NGOs and stakeholders. It aims to gather evidence to enable governments and the sector to map out the future of drainage systems across the UK over the next two or three decades. It is intended that the evidence-based research will support the development of resilient drainage-systems, including highlighting options for changes to regulation, legislation and technology, and that this will enable the expectations of customers to be delivered.

“The programme also aims to enable the affordable and practicable control of discharges from drainage-collecting systems which remain compliant with EU requirements; and to set out how and at what cost the sector will begin to address the various longer-term pressures that drainage systems face, including those from climate change. This will form an important part of the evidence base on which long-term wastewater, sewerage and drainage plans should be based.”

The report says: “SuDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, including ponds, wetlands, swales, permeable pavements etc) provide opportunities to slow water down, reducing risk of flooding.”  It recommends that one opportunity to improve infrastructure resilience is to “Invest in diversity of infrastructure solutions to increase agility to respond to stress eg SuDS.”

Download the Resilience Task and Finish Group Report.



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