Water System Resilience (ARCC-Water)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Geography - SoGE


Reliable water supply is fundamental to human health and wellbeing, and in the UK is underpinned by inter-linked infrastructure for abstraction, storage, treatment and conveyance of potable and wastewater. Climate change has the potential to affect the UK water system in a number of ways: through changes in the water available for abstraction and storage, especially through altered drought frequency and intensity, changes in demand and changing risk of infrastructure failure.This project aims to develop a set of analysis tools and data on climate change and future demand that will enable users to identify packages of options that results in heightened reslience of the UK water system to these uncertain future drivers. The multi-criteria approach to be developed will also allow alternative adaptation options to be assessed against other criteria, such as environmental sustatinability, energy costs and public acceptability.The focus of the study is South and East England, an area that is already experiencing water system stress, and likely to be subject to additional stresses in the future due to climate change and demographic changes.The methods and results of this research will enable the UK to better plan for adaptation of the water system to climate change, and will help identify the polciy and regulatory changes that would be needed for adaptation to take place.The project has been designed in collaboration with stakeholders from government (DEFRA, EA, OFWAT, GLA), the water industry (UKWIR, Water UK and a number of water companies) and NGOs with an interest in water. These same stakeholders will be involved throughout the project as project partners.


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Description We have shown firstly, that one can use uncertainty-based decision analysis to assess vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change on the water sector, and the relative efficacy of different response options. The approach supports identifying adaption options that are robust across a wide range of future environmental and socioeconomic uncertainties. We gained greater understand of both demand and supply side options.
Exploitation Route We have provided proof of concept on applying robust decision making to water resource planning. The approaches can be used by both regulators to evaluate options they might be trying to promote, and by water utilities and consultants to undertake more robust water resource planning.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

URL http://www.arcc-network.org.uk/arcc-water/
Description The work has contributed to an improved understanding by water utilities in the UK, and the regulators, on how to incorporate climate change into long terms planning. This has occurred via research publications being used in policy documents, and also, because of engagement with water companies in undertaking the research, change in awareness of practitioners about the ways to model and incorporate climate risks into their planning.
First Year Of Impact 2011
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services