Strategic Response 16

Cleaner rivers and beaches

With increasing pressure on the natural environment from increased population, changing land use, climate change
and new sources of pollution, we will improve our wastewater assets to do our part to help achieve ‘good’
environmental status for our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
SR16 - Cleaner rivers and beaches with Tony Harrington

This strategic response includes:

The Water Framework Directive places legal
obligations on Welsh Water through new and
changed permits for abstractions and
discharges. Welsh Water will investigate the
impact of our operations on waterbodies,
where we are the confirmed, probable (or
suspected) cause of water quality failure.
Natural Resources Wales and the
Environment Agency may impose new permits
on us to meet the Water Framework Directive.
We will work with Natural Resources Wales,
the Environment Agency and other
stakeholders to understand the impact of our
operations and those of others on waterbodies
where we are the confirmed, probable (or
suspected) cause of water quality failure. We
aim to develop solutions that are appropriate
for the catchment to achieve ‘good’
environmental status. There is likely to be
significant investment to reduce the impact of
operations on the environment, in such
instances, for example to reduce nutrient
levels entering waterbodies from our assets.
As part of the 21st Century Drainage
Programme, we will work with Ofwat and
Water UK to effectively plan for the longerterm
challenges in our sector. As part of this
response, we will be improving monitoring and
performance of our sewer overflows,
addressing sewer misuse, and reducing
groundwater infiltration.
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Research and Innovation

Welsh Water will explore the following
research topics to support this initiative:
• Work with our regulators on alternative
catchment wide permitting approaches
(including seasonal and load-based
consenting) and develop flow and load
monitors to understand the impact of spills;
• Research the use of natural capital
accounting or ecosystem services
approaches to value the impacts of spills
and the benefits of our interventions;
• Understand the effects of climate change
on river flows and ecology to anticipate
future environmental needs in 30 years
time;
• Understand how best to address emerging
contaminants, including the fate of
antibiotics, other pharmaceuticals,
microplastics and microbeads in the
wastewater treatment process, and their
impact on the environment;
• Explore new ways to treat storm water
including the addition of bacteria, additives
and phosphorus into sewers and reedbeds;
• Explore localised wastewater treatment
including off-grid and community
wastewater treatment works; and
• Explore the models of drainage asset
ownership, including the practicalities, legal
framework, costs and risks.
We will work with Natural Resources Wales
and the Environment agency to undertake this
research.

Find out more 

If you would like to find out more about all the Strategic Responses please CLICK HERE