Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA)

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Abstract

London and the South-East is the economic 'powerhouse' of England contributing 40% of GDP. Currently there is a shortage of housing, particularly affordable homes, and 50,000 new homes per year are planned for London to 2036. The growing population of London and its planned housing require water to be supplied and flooding to be reduced as far as possible. However, the region is vulnerable to water shortages (droughts) and floods. In the spring of 2012 London was facing potentially its worst drought, with concerns whether Affinity Water could provide sufficient water for some Olympic events. By contrast, the prolonged rainfall that then fell over the summer caused localised flooding and the Thames barrier being closed twice. This swing, over half a year, from extreme shortage of water to excess highlights the major challenge London faces to manage the water environment.

This challenge is likely to worsen with climate change alongside the expected economic growth of London and associated increase in population. It also shows how droughts and flooding are two ends of a hydrological spectrum, whose political oversight, i.e. governance, needs to be managed was a whole. It is this need for integrated, collaborative and appropriate management that lies at the heart of CAMELLIA.

Focusing on London, CAMELLIA will bring together environmental, engineering, urban planning and socio-economic experts with governmental and planning authorities, industry, developers and citizens to provide solutions that will enable required housing growth in London whilst sustainably managing water and environment in the city.

CAMELLIA will be led by Imperial College London, working in collaboration with researchers at University College London, the University of Oxford, and the British Geological Survey. The programme is supported by communities, policymakers and industry including: local and national government, environmental regulators, water companies, housing associations and developers, environmental charities and trusts. Ultimately, the programme aims to transform collaborative water management to support the provision of lower cost and better performing water infrastructure in the context of significant housing development, whilst improving people's local environments and their quality of life.

The relationships between the natural environment and urban water infrastructure are highly complex, comprised of ecological, hydrological, economic, technical, political and social elements. It is vital that policy and management are informed by the latest scientific understanding of hydrological and ecological systems. However, for this knowledge to make a change and have an impact, it needs to be positioned within wider socio-technical and economic systems. CAMELLIA will provide a systems framework to translate Natural Environmental Research Council-funded science into decision-making. Enabling a range of organisations and people to contribute to, and apply systems-thinking and co-designed tools to create a paradigm shift in integrated water management and governance underpins CAMELLIA. This will achieve the goal of real stakeholder engagement in water management decisions and provide a template, not just for London's growth, but for other cities, regions and communities both nationally and globally.

The proposed work programme consists of four work packages which address 4 key questions, namely: How to understand the system?; How to model the integrated system?; How to analyse that system?; How to apply this systems approach to create impact? To help focus these questions, four London based case studies are being used, each reflecting a key issue: Southwark (urban renewal); Thamesmead (housing development); Mogden (water infrastructure regeneration); Enfield (Flood risk and water quality). From these, an integrated systems model will be applied to the entire city in order to help guide policy, planning and water management decisions.

Planned Impact

Impact lies at the heart of CAMELLIA. This is why we are working with 20 stakeholders (CAMELLIA partners), which include Defra, the Environment Agency (EA), Thames Water, Affinity Water, Transport for London, Homebuilders Federation, GLA, London Boroughs, and community groups (Thames 21; Rivers Trusts) in order to deliver significant, quantifiable impact. These organisations have agreed to work with us, as the expected growth and associated housing development with London and the Thames, can only be delivered affordably, in a sustainable manner, and without significant environmental degradation, if a truly Catchment-Based Approach (CaBA) to water management is adopted.

To deliver new housing that contributes to documented visions of a more "Liveable" London (e.g. the Mayor of London's September 2017 London Housing Strategy), CAMELLIA will provide stakeholders usable information, models and tools, and work with them to use and continue to apply them collectively, thus greatly advancing the CaBA. The impacts we expect CAMELLIA to deliver are:

(1) The tools developed within CAMELLIA to quantify the effects of infiltration management on flood risk, infrastructure performance, and water resources will, for the first time, enable the assessment of 'upstream' intervention on 'downstream' impact. This will provide the evidence that could transform sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) uptake, for example, potentially based on the collective adoption of a SuDS offsetting scheme. This would support sustainable development within the GLA's Opportunity Areas, and could unlock areas currently considered unsuitable for development because of a lack of integrated assessment.

(2) The programme will build community capacity and expertise to engage with a range of organisational and institutional stakeholders based on open and equitable access to scientific knowledge. Engagement of London's citizens in the science of water management and design of infrastructure and policy options will improve their effectiveness, compared to conventional approaches based on public education, behaviour change and outreach.

(3) By applying systems thinking, the common objectives for a truly wide range of stakeholders will be included in a structured decision process. CAMELLIA will deliver an innovative Integrated Systems Analysis, which explicitly focuses on the interactions between the physical, social, management and decision-making system that is created from multiple stakeholder perspectives and with genuine local relevance. It will allow the analysis of differences in short- and long-term effects and avoid unintended consequences.

(4) CAMELLIA will transform access to data, knowledge, models, and tools to support urban water management and decision-making. It will deliver the Community Water Management Portal, a publicly-available web-based platform that will enable stakeholders to: (i) easily find out what data and tools are available and what they can be used for; (ii) access knowledge supporting community understanding; (iii) view and interpret multi-dimensional datasets describing London's urban water system, from anywhere; (iv) use a range of hydrological models and system dynamic models, and interpret their results.

Ten Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have been specified. These provide measures of the main outcomes from the programme. They enable CAMELLIA's impact with respect to user engagement and innovation, along with the benefit for society, business, the environment and policy to be quantified and costed against the consortium's baseline data.

Of the many examples cited by our partners, Peabody believe that "we can build a good case for investment around clear benefits that demonstrate value for money" and Thames Water state that "we are confident that we can collectively deliver better outcomes at lower cost". Given their annual investment in assets of £1bn, this represents huge potential savings and a long-lasting legacy.
 
Description 1) We have developed methods to undertake a co-design process to engage local people in water-related issues to design green solutions. An online tool was also developed to support the design process and estimate the water requirements of the new green space.
2) A model integrating all the data for water supply and wastewater in London was created and an example of its use has been to simulate how water quality and water demand was affected by the reduced movement of people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
3) Through a number of workshops, we supported a group of stakeholders (NGOs, water industry, developers etc) to agree on a shared problem related to a new housing development in London, and integrated their different perspectives. This was done using a System Dynamics participatory method, which supported a shared understanding of how various variables affecting the use of blue and green space (the shared problem identified by stakeholders in this instance) are connected to each other according to the stakeholders.
4) We created a tool called the Water Data Explorer to visualise and investigate data related to water pollution, flooding and other issues to support the understanding and decision-making of expert (eg. water industry staff) and non-expert (eg. local residents) audiences.
Exploitation Route 1) The general purpose online water calculator can be used by any group of local people to support their design process for funding applications to develop or re-develop green spaces in urban areas. The co-design method is available to use by various groups, from local governments to water companies, to put local people at the forefront of new design solutions addressing environmental issues.
2) Tools and models which investigate data and test scenarios can a) shift the direction of strategies, such as how to deal with wastewater in the London network, b) inform policy and regulation for managing licences and protect the environment, and c) provide evidence for the effectiveness of solutions, such as retrofitting SuDS or implementing a blue/green design for new housing developments.
Sectors Environment

URL http://www.camelliawater.org
 
Description - A co-design methodology and graphical water calculator tool have been successfully used by a group of residents on a housing estate in central London to bid for funding from Southwark Council to develop a community water garden. - CAMELLIA was used as a case study in the Policy Connect Bricks and Water Report: Building Resilience Homes for England. The report forms Policy Connect's response to the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Committee's call for evidence on the Future of the Planning System in England. - Insights from the CAMELLIA team have been used to inform a Private Members' Bill being submitted to Parliament by Philip Dunne MP and these have helped shape amendments being considered in the current passage of the Environment Bill. In addition, a CAMELLIA PhD student is on secondment to Philip Dunne's team and is helping with the development of the Bill.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Bricks & Water report citation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/13216/pdf/
 
Description Crane Valley Partnership (CVP) Smarter Water Catchment
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description DWMP Strategic Forum (Thames Water)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Greening Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Inland flooding enquiry (EFRA)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/5063/html/
 
Description Innovation competition consultation (Ofwat)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Innovation-funding-and-competition-decision-desi...
 
Description Mogden Technical Working Group (Thames Water)
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill by Philip Dunne MP
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
URL https://www.philipdunne.com/sites/philipdunne.com/files/2021-01/hcb16_-_sewage_inland_waters_bill_1....
 
Description Sustainable Living Places (Royal Academy of Engineering)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/sustainable-living-places-(1)
 
Description Tech for Nature
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Bank of Canada 
Sector Private
Country Canada
Start 08/2020 
 
Title Co-design method 
Description Method for local collectives to come up with an intervention. This was trialled in the Kipling estate project where residents co-designed a green roof and received funding from the local council to develop it. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This method was trialled in the Kipling estate project where residents co-designed a green roof and received funding from the local council to develop it. 
URL https://www.bottomupinfrastructure.org/method/detailed-design/
 
Title Community water calculator 
Description A graphical calculator for water runoff attenuation and water demand from a community water garden design. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This tools was successfully used as part of a community garden funding bid. 
URL https://dist.bgs.now.sh/
 
Title System dynamics boundary objects for research projects 
Description Participatory system dynamics can be used to create boundary objects for better managing interdisciplinarity in large research projects. The conference paper describing this method further explains how such activities can help facilitate the communication and transfer of meaning and learning amongst diverse sub-teams and contribute to the better management of research projects. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact These activities helped bridge differences in perspectives within different members and disciplines of the CAMELLIA team to create a shared understanding of the system that the project is aiming to improve through its activities and research. 
URL https://proceedings.systemdynamics.org/2020/papers/P1473.pdf
 
Title Urban Planning Sustainability Framework (UPSUF) 
Description - Theoretical framework incorporating blue-green solutions in the urban planning system. - Urban natural capital evaluation, providing a common language for urban stakeholders.• - Quantification of urban natural capital indicators using a GIS tool. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The framework was presented at two conferences in 2020. 
 
Title Virtual SD workshops 
Description Method for engaging stakeholders in system dynamics workshops online 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This new method for moving workshops typically carried out in-person to on-line, allowed the CAMELLIA team to effectively continue carrying our their work plan. A paper on this method was recently published explaining how these online workshops can be set up successfully for System Dynamics participatory activities. 
 
Title CityWat London 
Description The lumped model integrates London's water system, from abstraction to wastewater treatment. A semi-distributed version of the model created for certain areas and processes (eg. sewage) can investigate scenarios in more detail and support with the planning. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model was used to investigate the effect of Covid-19 on London's water quality and demand, showing the effect of the reduced movement of people (paper accepted). 
URL https://github.com/barneydobson/citywat
 
Title Detailed land use dataset London 
Description Small-scale, detailed land use dataset for London 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The dataset was used within the CityWat model to achieve the results published in the Covid-19 paper (awaiting publication) 
 
Description Anglian Water 
Organisation Anglian Water Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution - Provided consultation on climate change adaptation report - Created a CityWat model for Norwich to support their planning and decision-making around interventions.
Collaborator Contribution Provided data required for the model, as well as their time and feedback.
Impact The project is still ongoing - too early to say.
Start Year 2020
 
Description CAMELLIA advisory board & case studies 
Organisation Stantec
Country Canada 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Use of data and develpment of modelling techniques.
Collaborator Contribution Strategic directions for project work, these include the development of a low-cost domestic smart water tank for combining rainwater harvesting and with reduced storm runoff using low-cost sensor technology and new ways of working with stakeholders in water management decision making.
Impact Development of a prototype smart water tank for use in domestic water management. Disciplines include hardware and software developments.
Start Year 2019
 
Description FORCE 
Organisation Friends of the River Crane Environment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution - analysed water quality data collected through the group's citizen science activities
Collaborator Contribution Provided access to datasets and involved CAMELLIA experts in their internal meetings
Impact Results provided by CAMELLIA were presented at their AGM
Start Year 2020
 
Description New water management approaches for London 
Organisation Thames Water Utilities Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developing models for improved water management.
Collaborator Contribution Data provision, meeting attendance & strategic direction
Impact MSc projects
Start Year 2018
 
Description Progress towards net zero water use for housing development 
Organisation Peabody Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Organising and leading stakeholder engagement meetings in order to find a collative view and shared values for the work using system dynamics workshops .
Collaborator Contribution Contribution to stakeholder forum, participation in stakeholder workshop and provision of site visits to Thamesmead, a key case study site within CAMELLIA.
Impact Improved understanding of stakeholder needs and views for the Thamesmead site.
Start Year 2018
 
Title Community water calculator 
Description A graphical calculator for water runoff attenuation and water demand from a community water garden design. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The tool was successfully used as part of a community garden funding bid. 
URL https://dist.bgs.now.sh/
 
Title Rainwater harvesting calculator 
Description Web tool to calculate rainwater usage and collection requirements 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The tool led to the development of the Kipling calculator and its second iteration for wider application. 
URL https://calculator.iilab.org/rwh/
 
Title Water Data Explorer 
Description Online GIS tool that enables users to view spatial publically available hydrological and hydrogeological data related to water management for any site within the UK. It also allows users to upload their own information to the site and view it with the other available data sources. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2020 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Being used in a project with GLA (Greater London Assembly) and Thames 21 in order to assess source - pathway - receptor linkages across London associated with road runoff. 
URL https://mapapps2.bgs.ac.uk/waterdataexplorerlondon/home.html
 
Description CAMELLIA Newsletter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first quarterly CAMELLIA newsletter was published in February 2020 and it has since been sent regularly to inform partners and other interested stakeholders of the progress in CAMELLIA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://www.camelliawater.org/newsletter
 
Description CAMELLIA blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Blog posts translating CAMELLIA research and activities into a more accessible and shareable format, published on the website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://www.camelliawater.org/blog
 
Description CAMELLIA website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project's website went live in April 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://www.camelliawater.org
 
Description Croydon schools engagement - January 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Imperial College led an engagement day in partnership with Mott MacDonald with 3 Croydon schools on designs for flood alleviation. Students designed and built small coffer dam prototypes using lego that were tested in the Civil Engineering department's fluids lab. Teachers provided positive feedback and reported good engagement and interest in students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Enfield Meridian Waters development 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We held a workshop with Enfield Council teams involved in the Meridian Waters housing development to discuss how CAMELLIA can support the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Evening Standard article - January 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Online article on Evening Standard (free newspaper in the London area) warning about water challenges and describing the CAMELLIA programme and objectives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-faces-severe-water-droughts-as-population-grows-profes...
 
Description Friends of the River Crane 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact CAMELLIA held a number of meetings and supported the group's water quality monitoring activities by carrying out analyses and reporting data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Haringey Rivers Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We continue to participate to the Forum's regular meetings to provide scientific support and advice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021
 
Description Kipling co-design workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Three workshops were held between April - Sept 2019 with residents of Kipling estate. The first workshop one focussed on what the resident aims were of the co-design project e.g. to create growing opportunities and increasing biodiversity. Workshop 2 (May) focused on strategy and the third focused on the layout of garden and calculating the water impacts. Resident developed garden designs and used the bespoke calculator developed by BGS to calculate volume of water required for their design options. Residents came up with a final outline design which was used as the basis for funding applications. Two funding calls identified (GLA & LB Southwark). A residents group formed to write and submit bids with support from Leathermarket JMB, UCL and CAMELLIA project team. The residents were successful in winning £19,000 grant from greener city fund.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ucl.ac.uk/engineering-exchange/research-projects/2019/may/co-designing-community-garden
 
Description Monthly ebulletin 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A monthly newsletter is being sent to partners actively engaging with the programme to keep them up to date on all the ongoing CAMELLIA activities and future plans.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Severn Trent meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented CAMELLIA activities to representatives of Severn Trent to establish a path for collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Stakeholder Forum - September 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact All-day meeting with CAMELLIA stakeholders to discuss ongoing work, strategic direction, and to collect stakeholder requirements and feedback. Two new collaborations came about as a result - we are currently engaged with one of these stakeholders on a project, and exploring ways to work with the other. The meeting also led to greater awareness and interest in the programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Thamesmead systems thinking workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact The workshops brought together Thamesmead key stakeholders and collaborators on the CUSSH/CAMELLIA projects to jointly scope the focus of this work in the area of green and blue spaces, housing, sustainability and health. Stakeholders' perspectives were integrated to achieve a common perception of a problem around the use of blue and green space. Quantification of the resulting qualitative model is in progress.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
 
Description Twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Active twitter account to increase visibility of the programme and engage with different audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020,2021
URL https://twitter.com/CamelliaWater
 
Description Water Data Explorer focus groups 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Focus groups with community members, water industry professionals and local government were held to collect requirements for the tool's potential functionalities and use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021