Ali Browne and her collaborators Claire Hoolohan, Tom Hargreaves and Vittoria Danino are one of the winnings research groups awarded funding for the Ofwat Water Breakthrough Challenge 2 for their project ’Enabling Smart Water Communities’
The researchers have identified that significant challenges to customers, communities and the environment from frequent flood events remain, which lead to sustained droughts and negatively impact water quality.
Furthermore, housing development policies in their current form and rapid growth will further augment these challenges, which will increase demand on water and wastewater services to an unsustainable position.
Integrated Water Management (IWM) provides a solution by combining infrastructure, technologies, policies, and behaviour change initiatives to improve lives through co-ordinated water management.
Currently, IWM is rarely delivered due to ongoing stewardship issues, static regulatory and policy standards and lack of affordability.
The ’Enabling Smart Water Communities’ project will take an innovative approach to tackling these by:
- Rethinking assets: Develop and test innovative IWM design and asset management to support new stewardship models;
- Rethinking roles: Challenge regulatory and policy standards to support stakeholders;
- Rethinking value: Understand stakeholder motivations to develop financial models to unlock new sources of investment, and realign existing sources, to deliver affordable IWM.
"This project is urgently needed to bring together the wide range of development partners to identify and break down barriers to integrated water management. It is essential that we come together at a time when water demand is only going to continue through both growth and climate change; to demonstrate a replicable approach for future sustainable development."
- George Warren, Integrated Water Management Lead, Anglian Water (Industry partner of the ’Enabling Smart Water Communities’ project)