Water Infrastructure & Climate Change Chris Matthews
Presentation Overview About United Utilities What climate change means for water and wastewater service provision and why this is a business imperative Our response – water supply Our response – wastewater service Engaging with stakeholders – how we all need to work together
About United Utilities Operations in the north west of England 7 million customers 57,000 hectares of catchment land Over 40,000 km of distribution mains, supplying 1950Ml/day water Over 72,000km of sewers, 582 Wastewater Treatment Works
Adaptation and water supply 2035 estimate is a reduction in available supply of some 10% or around 180 million litres of water every day A combination of less yield and greater customer demand Intense rainfall may increase raw water colour increasing treatment costs Flooding on water treatment facilities, interruption to service
Adaptation and wastewater service provision Increased incidences of flooding of homes Flooding on wastewater treatment facilities, interruption to service Water courses could have a lower dissolved oxygen content leading to tighter discharge consent standards to maintain water quality standards Potential for odour generation in warmer conditions and risk of causing nuisance to customers Impact on sludge as prolonged wet periods may restrict sludge to land recycling route Warmer weather may have a positive effect on biological treatment processes, which operate more effectively at higher temperatures
Our response – the process Adaptation integrated into our Strategic Direction Statement, company policies and strategies to develop optimised long-term asset management plans for the next 25 years. The plans provide the foundation for assessing the specific actions required to adapt to climate change risks over the planning horizon and beyond. Climate change data (UKCIP) and assessment of risk is used in the development of company strategies, whilst climate change is accounted for in design, construction and operational activities.
Our response – water supply Water Resources Management Plan Reduce demand for water (leakage control and customer efficiency) Increase supply of water (small scale new groundwater resource development and greater network integration) 55 km West-East pipeline to link Lake District and Welsh sources and enable water to be moved to those areas most affected by climate change especially during drought period £1.6m investment to manage flood risk at key assets and catchment land investment All in a way that is good value for customers and is sustainable
Our response – wastewater service Increased volumes of storm water exceed sewer capacity and cause customer flooding. Upsizing priority sections of sewer together with protecting customers’ property Improving models of the sewer network Engaging with local authorities and the EA on development of Surface Water Management Plans On-going planning to protect wastewater treatment works at risk from flooding Increasing emphasis on demand management approaches Sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) analysis Building our way out of the problem on its own will not work and we already have a policy NOT to routinely upsize the sewer network Working with our customers to determine the level of service/protection that they want/can pay for
Engaging with stakeholders Engagement to understand stakeholder priorities and preferences Taken into account within our strategic asset planning process. Flooding from the sewerage system a symptom of more widespread problems in an entire drainage system which will often require actions from other stakeholders as well as United Utilities. Support the adoption of a joined-up approach to drainage management based on the principles of integrated drainage as outlined in Making Space for Water (Defra, 2005), Future Water (Defra, 2008), the Pitt Review (Sir Michael Pitt, 2008) and Flood and Water Management Act (2010).
Key messages Sustainable adaptation to climate change will involve partnership working and behavioural change. We expect the proportion of this type of work to increase as conventional solutions become unsustainable. Climate change risks to our Water Service are well catered for in our existing business plans and statutory documents. We already plan for climate variability in our 25 year business planning horizon. There are some long-term risks to our Wastewater Service from climate change. Current methods to manage these risks are unsustainable and innovation is needed to manage the issues in the long term.