UK water supply systems have traditionally been designed to cope with one dry winter but not two or three. The UK’s water supply sources and systems felt the impact of the 2011-2012 two season drought, and the possibility of future multiple season droughts in the face of climate change has provided the drive for the UK to re-consider the attributes of future investments in its water resources management. CH2M HILL worked with stakeholders to assess the delicate balance between water supply security and identified opportunities to improve future statutory Water Resources Planning Guidelines.

By: Dr. Kunle Akande, Project Manager and Associate Director, CH2M HILL

The two-season drought of 2011-2012 and the prospect of a third dry winter was a big wake up call for United Kingdom (UK) water resource management investment planning—one that resulted in the government,  water companies and water industry regulators questioning the country’s current water system’s ability to secure water supplies in the future.

CH2M HILL worked with the Environment Agency, Defra, the Welsh Government and Ofwat to evaluate what changes needed to be made in the UK’s statutory water resources managements plans in 2019 and 2024. Assessing water supply security and the balance with ecosystem protection, the project provided the business case and context for various change options.  A final report, “Water Resources Management Plans—Preparing for the Future”, was produced that captures these key changes and is available on the CH2M HILL website.

Some of the takeaways from the report which stakeholders agree need to be addressed include:

  • Methods of forecasting supply, including levels of service and resilience
  • Impacts of climate change in water resources investment plans
  • Ways of forecasting demand
  • Planning margins and approaches to evaluate supply demand balance investment options
  • Structure of the Water Resources Planning Guideline and purpose and format of regulatory planning tables

Download the summary report, as well as the full report.

Dr. Kunle Akande is an Associate Director and Project Manager with a background in water resources planning and management at CH2M HILL. He is a PhD graduate with professional interest in the management of water quantity and water quality in droughts and floods, for human and ecological receptors. Kunle is a senior industry water resources planner and project manager with more than 27 years experience of water resources management and planning, and operational investigations associated with water supply and wastewater services. In the period 2010-2012, Kunle led the development and validation of the United Kingdom Water Industry Research’s Water Resources Planning Tools project. The project involved the refinement of tools which have been in use since the Government’s Agenda for Action document of 1996 and the technical assessment of potential new methods for use in 2019 and beyond.

At present, Kunle is the project manager for the UK water industry’s futuristic strategic project aimed at the evaluation of whether the current UK water resources planning system needs to change. Dr. Akande served as the Chair of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) 2012 conference session on new paradigms for new risks – thoughts on approaches to water resources planning and management in future. He is a member of the CIWEM Water Resources Expert Panel and has been a member of the Water and Environment Journal Editorial Board since June 2005. He is also a Fellow of CIWEM and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.