Safe & SuRe: Towards a New Paradigm for Urban Water Management

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths

Abstract

The water sector in the UK has, by many measures, been very successful. In England and Wales, drinking water standards stands at over 99.9%, water pipe leakage is down by a third, sewer flooding reduced by more three quarters in the last 10 years and bathing water standards are at record high levels. This success has been achieved using a 19th century design approach based on the idea of plentiful resources, unrestrained demand and a stable climate. However, a perfect storm of climate change, increasing population, urbanisation, demographic shifts and tighter regulation is brewing! Each one of these challenges is a threat to the water sector and, taken in isolation, existing approaches may be able to cope. Taken together and compounded by the speed, size and uncertainty of change, the system is heading for failure unless something radical is done. The current way of working looks increasingly out of date and out of step with emerging thinking and best practice in some leading nations.

This fellowship aims to meet these emerging challenges and global uncertainties head on by developing a new approach to water management in UK cities. The starting point is a new vision that is: Safe & SuRe. In a sense, our existing water systems are all about safety goals: public health, flood management and environmental protection. These are important and still need to be respected, but they are NOT sufficient to rise to the coming challenges. In the new world of rapid and uncertain change, water systems in cities must also be Sustainable and Resilient. Only a 'Safe & SuRe' system can be moulded, adapted and changed to face the emerging threats and resulting impacts.

In this fellowship. my vision will be developed, tested and championed into practice over a period of 5 years. It will draw from multi-disciplinary collaboration with leading academics inside and outside the field. A comprehensive, quantitative evaluation framework will be developed to test in detail what options or strategies can contribute towards a Safe & SuRe water future, focussing on the challenges of water scarcity, urban flooding and river pollution. Recommendations and best practice guidance will be developed in conjunction with key stakeholders.

Planned Impact

The work carried out under this fellowship grant will offer tangible benefits to a wide range of stakeholders in industry, government, and society in general. The key impacts revolve around contributing towards solving the pressing UK challenges surrounding water and its management, and in exploiting the knowhow and technology developed to increase the market share of British businesses in the global economy. The UK water sector is a substantial part of the British economy currently valued at £12 billion per annum. The global market exceeds £250 billion, of which the UK currently has a 13% share.
Most directly, the beneficiaries will be the UK private sector water service providers. The impacting agents will be a clearer vision of change, improved assessment methods, characterisation, processes and technologies, plus a stronger route map to implementation. Key impacts themselves will be improved service provision, more cost-effective approaches and increased competitiveness. There is also scope for influence on the commercial private sector supply chain, in terms of development and enhancement of their product ranges. In addition, British and international consultants will develop their knowhow and expertise to deliver strongly-evidenced Safe & SuRe urban water management plans and designs.

The water sector regulators will benefit from the work, particularly the Environment Agency, but also the Consumer Council for Water and the Water Services Regulation Authority. Policy makers in central government (e.g. Defra) and local government (e.g. planning authorities, building regulations) will also be impacted. The public sector should see improved effectiveness of services and better informed policy decisions, particularly as regards formulation of policies to address the key water challenges of the 21st century. Local government has a re-emerging role in water management and will benefit from advice on flood resiliency measures, sustainable drainage and w to incorporate water scarcity and water pollution prevention aspects into their development plans. The general public will be overall beneficiaries in terms of a more secure water future, enhanced quality of life and more cost-effective Safe & SuRe services.

Urban water management is such an important issue that the practical outcomes of the research are in both the national and global interest. The Grant is funded for 5 years and we would expect the benefits to begin to accrue as the project progresses and then come on stream within the following 5-years.

Developing staff is another key impact of the fellowship. Both the university and the Centre for Water Systems have systems and processes in place to ensure the academics and researchers funded on the grant will not only develop their subject-specific skills, but also gain more general abilities in project management, financial management and 'people' skills. We have a long track record of developing individuals for careers in academia, goverment and industry.

The award of a fellowship will allow me to engage consistently and meaningfully with stakeholders over an extended time frame. This would not be possible in the same way given the length and nature of a standard research grant. I believe that my background, skills and substantial experience make me ideally suited to reaching the aims of the fellowship and in particular to achieving its desired impact.

Organisations

Publications

10 25 50

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Melville-Shreeve P (2016) A Laboratory Study into a Novel, Retrofittable Rainwater Harvesting System in British Journal of Environment and Climate Change

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Butler, D. (2014) A new approach to urban water management: Safe and SuRe in Proc. 16th Conference on Water Distribution System Analysis

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Butler D (2014) A New Approach to Urban Water Management: Safe and Sure in Procedia Engineering

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Sweetapple C (2018) Attribute-based intervention development for increasing resilience of urban drainage systems. in Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research

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S. Mugume (2014) Building resilience in urban water systems for cities of the future in Proc. IWA - World Water Congress & Exhibition 2014

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Diao K (2014) Clustering analysis of water distribution systems: identifying critical components and community impacts. in Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research

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Mugume S (2015) Enhancing resilience in urban water systems for future cities in Water Science and Technology: Water Supply

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K. Diao (2014) Hierarchical decomposition of water distribution systems for background leakage assessment in Proc. 16th Conference on Water Distribution System Analysis (WDSA2014)

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Mugume S (2017) Multifunctional urban flood resilience enhancement strategies in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Water Management

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Webber JL (2018) Rapid surface water intervention performance comparison for urban planning. in Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research

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Atkinson S (2014) Reliability Indicators for Water Distribution System Design: Comparison in Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management

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Butler, D. (2014) Safe and SuRe': A sustainable and resilient approach to water management in Water and Sewerage Journal

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Ellis JB (2015) Surface water sewer misconnections in England and Wales: Pollution sources and impacts. in The Science of the total environment

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Farmani R (2013) Towards more resilient and adaptable water distribution systems under future demand uncertainty in Water Science and Technology: Water Supply

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Roelich K (2015) Towards resource-efficient and service-oriented integrated infrastructure operation in Technological Forecasting and Social Change

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Diao K (2016) Twin-Hierarchy Decomposition for Optimal Design of Water Distribution Systems in Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management

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K. Diao (2014) Vulnerability Assessment of Water Distribution Systems Using Directed and Undirected Graph Theory in Proc. 11th International Conference on Hydroinformatics

 
Description This fellowship aimed to develop a new water management paradigm for cities. Now that the fellowship has reached its conclusion, we have developed a new vision, a conceptual intervention framework, a quantitative analysis methodology, and have applied them to case studies. We have developed new software to perform resilience analysis which has been made openly available, developed a new community toolkit and worked with several stakeholders applying the conceptual framework. We have made significant methodological advances and new findings concerning the relationship between risk, resilience and sustainability.
Exploitation Route We have ben working with Ofwat, water service providers and consulting companies to trail and roll out our methods and approaches and to influence policy.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment

URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/engineering/research/safesure/
 
Description The Safe & SuRe team have been actively involved in contributing to policy consultations. We have engaged significantly with respect to Ofwat's 'Resilience in the Round' thinking. We have worked with the City of Melbourne in Australia to trial our methods and support their engineering interventions and strategies. We have worked extensively with Scottish Water to trial and apply both our S&S intervention framework and our Global Resilience Analysis software.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Environment Agency Water Company Drought Plan Guidelines Consultation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/emps/engineering/research/safesure/otherpublicreso...
 
Description Lloyd's Register Foundation Resilience Engineering Priorities
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/emps/engineering/research/safesure/otherpublicreso...
 
Description Ofwat Resilience Consultation Response
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/emps/engineering/research/safesure/otherpublicreso...
 
Description Resilience Task and Finish Group Questionnaire - Issued by Severn Trent Water
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/emps/engineering/research/safesure/otherpublicreso...
 
Description Water2020 draft PR19 methodology consultation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Urban flood resilience in an uncertain future
Amount £304,910 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P004318/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 10/2019
 
Title S&S GRA tool 
Description Tool to analyse the resilience of water distribution networks based on EPANet output. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In the UK his tool has been applied by Scottish Water to validate their simplified internal approaches. It has also been applied in Italy on a newly rebuilt post-earthquake network. SO far, we have had 23 licence key request from 11 countries (UK, Iran, Netherlands, France, Spain, Mexico, China, Ethiopia, Japan, Canada and India). 
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/engineering/research/cws/resources/gratool/
 
Title Fast option comparison for surface water management 
Description Fast and quantitative surface water intervention screening tool to assess flood risk, resilience and cost effectiveness of interventions. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Simulate strategies across a range of events to provide evidence for decision support that could be used by water companies and consultancies 
 
Title Global resilience analysis of water distribution systems 
Description Global resilience analysis (GRA) is designed to assess the whole-system resilience of engineering systems. It evaluates a system's resilience to a possible failure mode regardless of the causal threat(s) (known or unknown, external or internal). 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The method can be used as a comprehensive diagnostic framework to evaluate a range of interventions for improving system resilience 
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135416307473
 
Title Safe & SuRe Framework 
Description The Safe & SuRe framework supports the development of design and operational strategies for the reliable provision of services while explicitly addressing the need for greater resilience to emerging threats, thus leading to more sustainable solutions. 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The UK Water Act 2014 places a duty on the water and wastewater sectors to "further the resilience objective". It highlights a need for long-term and holistic planning of water, wastewater and service provisions under increasing global threats; something that the sector is struggling to understand and implement. The Resilience framework meets this need and assists to bring clarity to the term resilience and how it can be implemented holistically in a water company. 
URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gch2.1010/abstract
 
Description ACO Technologies 
Organisation ACO Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Updating on latest thinking in field.
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership.
Impact Helped frame response to public consultation. ACO have used the Safe & SuRe analytical framework to present their products to clients.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Arcadis 
Organisation Hyder Consulting
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Possible secondment for researcher.
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership
Impact Possible joint work with South West Water
Start Year 2014
 
Description Arup 
Organisation Arup Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Briefing on ongoing research
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership
Impact Ongoing research is feeding into Arup's design thinking
Start Year 2013
 
Description Black and Veatch 
Organisation Black & Veatch
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Research updating.
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Environment Agency 
Organisation Environment Agency
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Updating on latest research thinking
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership.
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Northumbrian Water 
Organisation Northumbrian Water
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Research updating.
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership.
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Scottish Water 
Organisation Scottish Water
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Working with various delivery teams in the planning of wastewater schemes.
Collaborator Contribution Support for development work and extensive feedback on tools and models.
Impact Both our framework and GRA tool have been customised for use across the company.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Severn Trent Water 
Organisation Severn Trent Water
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Briefing on ongoing research
Collaborator Contribution Steering group membership. Sponsorship of a PhD.
Impact Ongoing.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Water Industry Forum 
Organisation Water Industry Forum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Awareness of research disseminated to water industry.
Collaborator Contribution Steering group attendance.
Impact We have become a full member of the forum.
Start Year 2013
 
Title A tool for global resilience analysis of water distribution systems 
Description A simple, user-friendly tool for global resilience analysis of water distribution systems. It is based on the stress-strain concept and can quantify resilience to pipe failure, pump failure, demand increase and contaminant intrusion. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The water sector is struggling to find ways to quantify resilience in their networks. This tool enables water companies to assess the resilience of their networks and concentrate investment in a strategic and efficient manner. 
 
Title Community Tool Kit to improve community and household resilience 
Description Community tool kit to increase community and household resilience. It enables discussion and informed decision-making about household and community level projects to increase flood and drought resilience. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Through the national flood risk management (FRM) policy in England, households and communities are now expected to take ownership of certain non-technical aspects of flood management in their local area. However, since this is not traditionally the role of English households and communities, their participation in flood coping has been minimal. The development of this tool kit will increase flood resilience. 
 
Company Name Rainshare 
Description RainShare is a social enterprise philosophy and explores service innovation to generate multiple gain through sharing roof runoff across a portfolio of RWH services representing fresh new business models. Challenging conventional ways of sharing and trading runoff, RainShare also aims to reconnect communities with water through the highlighting of everyday practices that don't need potable (mains) tap water - like irrigating gardens and allotments, flushing toilets and washing cars. Ahead of the curve in terms of where rainwater management in the UK currently is, RainShare is currently collecting data from the pilot installation, which will help prove the business case for further schemes - essential for getting to the early-adopting 1% who will immediately benefit from RainShare's services. The pilot installation diverts runoff from the roof of a house to adjacent allotments to enable plants to be watered without the use of mains water and keeping rainwater out of sewers. Working with Transition Town initiatives in the local area, the aim is for the next installation to be larger in scale - such as sharing runoff between terraced housing and a community centre or between a warehouse and an office block. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact RainShare has received funding and support from social enterprise specialists UnLtd to install a pilot scheme in Exeter, business mentoring from start-up specialists Canopy and most recently, a comprehensive package from InnovateUK's Women in Innovation scheme.
Website http://www.rainshare.co.uk
 
Company Name Over the Air Analytics (OTA) 
Description The OTA team deliver rainwater management installations on a bespoke basis using in-house design software which builds on R&D completed at the Centre for Water Systems. Furthermore, OTA has developed a real-time monitoring system to enable its SuDS systems to be connected and monitored via its cloud-based hosting platform. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact The company has been co-produced through collaboration with a range of industrial partners such as Severn Trent Water, South West Water and a range of small to medium enterprises and approaches regarding potential collaborative projects are always welcome.
Website http://www.overtheairanalytics.com/
 
Description Resilience in the Round: operationalizing global water infrastructure resilience 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This session took place during the World Water Congress and showcased the latest research and practice focusing on operationalizing water infrastructure resilience. Although there is a range of frameworks to assess and diagnose resilience, few have reached the stage of trialling or assessing interventions or addressing gaps in such frameworks. This workshop showcased projects that have reached this stage, therefore providing participants with an opportunity to trial water infrastructure system-focused optioneering and modelling tools and to interrogate other frameworks and best practice examples from across the globe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://worldwatercongress.org/destination/
 
Description Saving our water: innovations in urban water management: Networking & Showcasing Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In November 2017, the Centre for Water System's Safe and SuRe team collaborated with the Global Advancement team (alumni team at the University of Exeter) to host a networking event in London's Angel Islington, showcasing their research in finding ways to deliver safe, sustainable and resilient water systems in the face of global challenges.

The evening included an informal welcome by Professor David Butler to an audience made up of over 50 alumni and industry contacts, outlining the key aims of team, who were set up at various stations throughout the room, presenting their research in dynamic, fun and engaging ways. The evening was a great success, working with the Global Advancement Team enabled the Safe&SuRe team to reach out and engage with a wider audience. From this event, a follow-on event is being organised with Ofwat and the Water Industry Forum. There has also been interest in the Safe & SuRe team conducting workshops on resilience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coqQxzZixmU
 
Description The Water Report article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An article on the Safe & SuRe fellowship was published in the Water Report which is a monthly publication launched in 2014 in response to UK water market reform. It is available in print and/or as a pdf. It focuses on the UK water and sewerage industry, providing thorough reports and in-depth research and features on topical issues. The article will raise awareness of the Safe & SuRe framework that is used for the analysis of resilience inherent in a system and of the workshops that the team provide to water companies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshops with Water Companies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Safe & SuRe team have conducted workshops with water companies to engage research findings from the fellowship. In particular, the team has developed a set of definitions and concepts through a framework that enables water problems to be addressed in a holistic manner - these ideas were shared in the workshops - and have been used in preparation for Ofwat 2019 Price Review. To date, water companies involved include Scottish Water and Southern Water.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/engineering/research/cws/news-events/news/title_604359_en.html