Severn Trent Water says it intends to double the number of sustainable urban drainage (SuDS) projects in the next few years as a result of climate change. The plans have been set out in a new report which sets out the company’s climate change adaptation plans to 2020.
The report identifies a number of threats from climate change, including increased heavy rainfall events which will increase runoff from land, and increased concentrations of pollutants such as pesticides and nitrates entering watercourses which will decrease raw water quality. The report also says increased temperatures could have an impact on water treatment because of an increase in bacteriological growth.
The company plans to invest over £230 million in water treatment works to improve treatment processes and reduce risk. It is also investing £250 million in providing an alternative water supply to the West Midlands via the Birmingham Resilience Project. Other plans include measures to improve water quality, reduce leakages, and improve local river environments. But Severn Trent says its plans are not only concerned with traditional hard engineering projects. Its plans also include more innovative types of intervention to manage future climate change, such as a significant research and development programme and working in partnerships to deliver more sustainable approaches to drainage.
Severn Trent also says in its report that wide reforms are needed to the legislative and regulatory framework to improve the ways in which the whole water industry adapts to climate change. It says the framework still operates in favour of more connections to sewers, at a time when the burden on the sewerage system is rising with climate change. The company believes either the automatic right to connect to sewer systems should be completely removed, or charges for connecting new developments should reflect the full costs that they impose on the sewerage system. Both these options, it says, would lead to more sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS).
To read the full report, see the PDF on the Severn Trent website.
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