Atkins appoints new head of UK water

Atkins has appointed Daressa Frodsham as its head of UK water, responsible for increasing the company’s footprint in the UK water market.

Frodsham (pictured) has more than 25 years’ experience working in the water industry, including roles as director for water and environment at Ricardo Energy & Environment, and head of engineering and head of capital delivery performance at United Utilities. In her new role, she will be responsible for driving further growth in the water sector and delivering customer focused outcomes for UK water companies.

Part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, Atkins supports the water, wastewater and water-related environmental sectors with services from water strategy planning and flood management to infrastructure investment planning, design and asset optimisation. One of its latest works is to produce a first of its kind framework that will enable water companies across England and Wales to strengthen drainage and environmental resilience through the production of Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMPs).

The framework, commissioned by Water UK in collaboration with DEFRA, Welsh Government, Ofwat, Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Consumer Council for Water, ADEPT and Blueprint for Water, provides water companies with a basis for more collaborative and integrated long-term planning, working with other organisations that have responsibilities relating to drainage, flooding and protection of the environment.

It will also play a fundamental role in helping to achieve Water UK’s 21st Century Drainage Programme vision, which seeks to ensure the sustainability of drainage infrastructure and the services it provides to customers and the environment.

Until now, with no statutory requirement for water companies to produce long-term drainage and wastewater plans, companies have produced their own plans within broad guidelines, resulting in a range of planning approaches. While not a statutory requirement, the expectation is that companies will adopt the new framework, leading to the creation of DWMPs that:

  • provide a clear and consistent planning approach;

  • show how their long-term plans (minimum planning period of 25 years) support economic growth and resilient communities, and how they protect and enhance the environment;

  • provide a systematic understanding of service and system risks and vulnerability;

  • demonstrate a structured and auditable approach to identifying and developing options and presenting a robust best value investment plan;

  • facilitate the integration of partnership working and co-creation of solutions;

  • facilitate innovation and the development of affordable, sustainable plans; and

  • provide greater confidence to customers, regulators and stakeholders in strategies identified and resultant plans.

Dr Brian Arkell, water management director for SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “The water industry is facing unprecedented future pressures, meaning that it is increasingly difficult to predict and plan. This new framework provides a positive step-change by helping water companies create more affordable, future-proofed, sustainable plans, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes for the economy, society and the environment.”