Customers want confidence that clean, safe drinking water will be reliably available and that they can rely on their wastewater being taken away. Society needs confidence that these services will be provided today and in the long term, without compromising the natural environment, and more widely that decisions taken today will not impoverish future generations.
The Water Act 2014 adds a new duty to our primary duties: to ‘further’ the resilience objective (in England and Wales). It highlights the need for long-term resilience of water and wastewater systems and service provision when faced with increasing external stresses, such as environmental pressures, population growth and changes in consumer behaviour. It also highlights the need to:
- promote long-term planning and investment, and the use of a range of measures to manage water resources in sustainable ways; and
- increase efficiency in water use and reduce demand for water to minimise pressure on water resources.
Keeping the Country Running is the current UK Government guidance on resilience. It considers resilience as the ability of assets, networks and systems to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from a disruptive event. It also sets out that there are different ways in which resilience provision can be delivered. These are categorised as:
- redundancy (avoiding dependencies on single assets)
- resistance (proofing the system so that it is resistant to known risks – for example, flood defences or access procedures)
- reliability (a system that operates effectively, irrespective of whether or not risks materialise – for example, design standards)
- response/recovery (the ability to recover quickly so that service is not unduly impacted – that is, tested procedures and appropriate resources)