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Creating resilient wastewater catchments

We’re planning ahead to manage wastewater and drainage issues to ensure your local area is ready for the impact of climate change and population growth.

Our Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP)  exists to protect your future water supply. We’re now creating a detailed Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) to manage your wastewater more effectively.

Our Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP)

All water companies in England and Wales are committed to preparing DWMPs for the first time.

It’s vitally important that this plan is partnership-led as we work in diverse catchment areas, each with varying population levels, development opportunities and environmental needs. Our plans need to support our entire region as well as protect your local community and the environment in the long term.

Since early 2019, we’ve been working hard to develop our DWMP and discuss the information we hold about our region with our stakeholders and receiving their feedback and regional data. In this way we can make proactive decisions and prioritise solutions for areas with the biggest drainage and wastewater management issues.

Our first DWMP needs to be ready to for consultation in summer 2022. We'll complete the final plan the following Spring ahead of the next price review, and we'll review it every five years.

A picture of a group wearing fluorescent jackets on the edge of a river looking into the water

The DWMP framework

In 2018, Water UK collaborated with water companies across the UK, plus the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra); the Welsh Government; Ofwat; the Environment Agency; Natural Resources Wales; the Consumer Council for Water; ADEPT; and Blueprint for Water, to create a DWMP framework all water companies can use.

We’re currently working through the following five stages:

  1. Scope and context: An overview of our drainage and wastewater region as well as the drivers and objectives that shape the DWMP
  2. Initial catchment screening: An overview of our region’s results from the industry-wide catchment vulnerability screening against 17 different risk indicators
  3. Catchment risk analysis: A more detailed assessment of our catchments that will help us understand the risks they face and identify opportunities for solutions
  4. Developing interventions: A list of solutions we and/or our partners have considered as well as their feasibility
  5. Programme update: An up-to-date, high-level view of our plan and where we are

Scope and context

In stage one of the process, we wanted to make sure our partners knew how to contribute to our DWMP and what was included, or not, in the scope of our work.

We initially carried out extensive research into the future pressures that would impact our drainage and wastewater services to understand where to focus the first version of our plan. We then carried out a consultation exercise on some proposed planning objectives in the winter of 2019, and carefully considered all of the comments we received.

Based on this work, the first version of our DWMP will focus on the impact of growth, climate change and urban creep between 2025 and 2050 and will be underpinned by 12 planning objectives – 6 common and 6 bespoke.

For more detail on this first phase of our DWMP please read our Strategic Context document.

As part of our business planning cycles, we’ll update this DWMP every five years to make sure the scope of our work can evolve. In the future, this may mean including a wider range of measures to prevent incidents like sewer flooding inside homes and river pollution.

Initial catchment screening

In the second stage of our DWMP process, we carried out Risk-Based Catchment Screening (RBCS).

This high-level, risk-based review covered all 382 of our drainage and wastewater catchments, checking for significant challenges and determining if they need more detailed assessment.

We measured the risks in each catchment against 17 indicators. These include flooding, pollution and Sewage Treatment Works quality compliance with permits. If we didn’t identify any unacceptable risks for a catchment, we removed it from the planning process.

In the future, we’ll update this screening process when necessary to reflect changing catchment risks.

Access our portal to view the results of our RBCS 2019 assessment.

Baseline Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (BRAVA)

In the third stage of our DWMP process, we carried out detailed catchment-level analysis on all the catchments that had come through the screening. At this stage we were looking specifically at the vulnerability of the catchments in a variety of different scenarios. 

We call this our Baseline Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (BRAVA).

This process helps us to understand wider resilience issues within each catchment as well as areas we need to prioritise in the next stage.

Access our portal to see the national level BRAVA results for our region.

Developing interventions (optioneering)

In the fourth stage of our process, we’ll develop solutions and possible interventions for the risk areas we’ve captured with our stakeholders. 

We’re currently working with Atkins to create a process for Optioneering and more information will be available on this soon.

We’d love to hear your ideas, including how they may fully or partially meet our objectives. We’ll collate and test all the ideas we receive before we decide which ones to move ahead.

We’re also open to forming new partnerships that will help us address not only our needs, but yours, too. By working together, we can make a wider contribution to local communities around our region.

More information

Please email us to find out more about our DWMP.

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