Water Resources South East (WRSE) has convened the inaugural meeting of a new stakeholder group which will support it to develop a multi-sector regional resilience plan.
WRSE intends to shift from developing scenario-based strategies to a single, regional resilience plan which will ignore water company boundaries and consider the needs of other key water users in the region. As well as planning for severe drought events, the WRSE plan will identify, assess and plan for a wider range of risks – including flooding, freezing weather and other third party events.
Meyrick Gough, WRSE technical director, explained: “This is very different from the approach WRSE has adopted up until now – in essence WRSE has produced a `least cost’ strategy for each future scenario it has considered. While this approach has provided valuable insight for water companies’ own individual Water Resources Management Plans, we have not been able to then translate those company plans back upwards into a wider view of the region’s water resources needs and how we build the resilience of the whole water system.
“The benefits of the new approach will mean WRSE is delivering against the clear expectations set out by government and regulators for a shift to regional planning and wider collaboration for resilience; and should identify the appropriate balance between the different types of a solutions that need to be delivered.”
Trevor Bishop, organisational development director for WRSE said: “The [stakeholder] group is an essential part of ensuring we address the needs of other sectors and are transparent about the technical work and how its outputs inform and influence water companies’ plans. Longer term we also want to ensure it is used as the vehicle for getting greater multi-sector input into our regional resilience plan, forges stronger links with other regional groups and the national framework, and facilitates greater use of markets and competition.”
The inaugural meeting was attended by representatives from the NFU, RWE, The Canal and Rivers Trust, the Consumer Council for Water, Waterwise, Greater London Authority, Kent County Council, Albion Water, the Environment Agency, DEFRA and Natural England.