Strategic Response 2

Enough water for all

Confronted with an increasing water supply demand gap due to population growth and drier summers due to climate change, we will use our Water Resource Management Plan to ensure the water supply demand balance to 2050. We propose to implement water transfers, demand management measures and leakage reduction programmes to address any deficits, whilst recognising the possible need to support other parts of the UK
SR2 - Enough water for all with Ian Brown

This strategic response includes:

These challenges are considered in our draft Water Resources Management Plan 2019
(Welsh Water, 2018) which details what needs to be done from 2020 to 2050 to ensure a sustainable and affordable balance between water supply and water demand.
As part of looking at water demand, we developed demand forecasts for our zones, estimating usage levels in a hot dry year, and for the critical period of peak use. This gives us insight as to whether we can consistently supply water to all of our customers in the most arduous conditions, considering the risks and uncertainty associated with long term forecasting.
We have identified two Water Resource Zones that are anticipated to fall into deficit between 2020 and 2050;
• Tywyn Aberdyfi; and
• Pembrokeshire. Our customers accept that it may be necessary to impose demand restrictions during periods of drought, as long as this does not happen too frequently (Welsh Water, 2017). Our current Level of Service (LoS) commitment states that we will:
• Not have a hosepipe ban more than once in every 20 years, (1-in-20) on average;
• Not restrict water for commercial use more than once in every 40 years (1-in- 40), on average; and
• To never impose more extreme measures such as standpipes and rota cuts. We have confidence that all but three of our water resource zones (Pembrokeshire, Tywyn Aberdyfi and Vowchurch) are resilient to an extreme (1 in 200 year) drought, without imposing ‘extreme’ drought management measures.
Options for mitigating supply-demand deficits include:
• Demand management– saving water through supporting customers to reduce their usage;
• Water reuse – encouraging the use of grey water reuse and rainwater harvesting;
• Water metering – to incentivise reduced water usage;
• Leakage – reducing the losses in our system through increased investment in leakage monitoring and repair, including beyond the domestic boundary;
• Water transfer and trading - across zonal or company boundaries, recognising the associated environmental risks, for example, the spread of non-native species;
• Catchment management and natural water retention - in uplands, wetlands and floodplains; and
• Water resource optimisation – utilising a new source of water or increasing the water we take from an existing source. In order to identify the best measures to implement, we prioritise those solutions which provide the required volume of water savings with low social, environmental and economic costs – considering both catchment and demand management options as well as water transfer and reservoir upgrade solutions.
Details on options for addressing these deficits are given in the direction of travel and case study.

Research and Innovation

Welsh Water will explore the following research topics to support this strategic response:
• Understand interventions that promote water conservation by consumers, businesses and community groups. This could include exploring the success of approaches such as reduced flushing, rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, water labelling on appliances, smart metering and dynamic pricing;
• Assess the benefits of ‘smart’ metering, particularly for business customers;
• Assess the impacts of climate change on water abstractions, in terms of water availability, impact on the environment, and the use of catchment management to optimise water quantity and quality for ecosystems;
• Understand the possible role of local, community based water supply systems including local abstraction, treatment, and distribution methods;
• Understand and develop approaches to manage the uncertainty of climate change projections and water resources management planning;
• New market opportunities through trading water across company boundaries, taking advantage of new water trading incentives; and
• Low cost desalination opportunities, for example, graphene sieves.

Find out more 

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