Utility Week

Utility Week 25th October

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Operations & Assets impacts normally associated with much rarer rainfall amounts. This caused a significant increase in short-term recovery costs and longer-term investment in flood prevention for UK water companies. Conversely, this summer has seen warm temperatures and below average rainfall, which has led to high daytime water demand and legitimate night use. The prolonged summer spell meant treatment works and pumps were operating at near full capacity in many regions, leading to increased energy bills and overtime expenditure. Had the summer weather continued unabated, the potential for not meeting demand may have become a reality. This has highlighted the importance of accurate water resource and demand planning. The Met Office has carried out recent work with Thames Water to provide a demand model for the industry. This allows UK water companies to strategically analyse and project future water demand in their region. It also has a 15-day forecasting capability, helping water resource managers make short-term operational decisions to meet consumer demand in the most efficient way. Water companies can better prepare for the impacts of weather by using weather forecast information. With winter fast approaching, water utilities should act now to militate against severe winter weather. The Met Office expects some weather extremes to increase as a result of climate change and is leading the way to help utilities understand the potential implications and how to become more resilient to these extremes. Stephen Herndlhofer, head of data services at Yorkshire Water, says: "We need to respond with more proactive, integrated and considered mitigation plans, including systems which make more effective use of raw meteorological data. "Our preparation for future events certainly requires a greater appreciation of how different weather events affect all aspects of the organisation, and what action we need to take to minimise both avoidable service failures and associated recovery costs." There is currently a large disparity in how water firms make use of weather data in the planning, reacting and recovery stages of weather impact events. Given that the industry constantly faces the impacts of severe weather, it is widely recognised that there is a need for a more proactive approach. The aim of the Met Office is to work with the industry to provide an understanding of what to expect from the weather now, and in the future, to help water companies manage issues such as bursts, leakage, demand and turbidity, and explore how to prepare for changes in weather patterns and to act now. Thomas Francis, scientific consultant at the Met Office For more information, see www.metoffice.gov. uk/water or email water@metoffice.gov.uk to receive a brochure Map 1: the contrasting mean maximum temperatures for summer 2012 and summer 2013. Map 2: the contrasting rainfall amount for Summer 2012 and Summer 2013 (based on provisional rainfall measurements) Yorkshire Water and weather hazards Following the recent cases of severe weather in 2012, the Met Office worked with Yorkshire Water to undertake a detailed review of how the weather influenced all areas of their business, ranging from gritting access roads through to "spring sloughing" in trickling filters. The objective was to identify the range of weather hazards to key areas of the business, rank them according to their level of impact and analyse the relationship between the hazard and the impact. Risk indicators were derived by analysing the time frame in which useful weather information or impact model data could feasibly be used to inform mitigation activities. The perceived business benefits were then assessed based on the value of reducing or preventing weather impacts. Although a great deal of weather types were found to have an impact, air temperature and rainfall stood head and shoulders above others as having the potential to cause the most significant disruption. The major peaks in impact tend to occur towards the winter and summer seasons when air temperature and rainfall are most likely to be at their maximum or minimum. Although unusual weather during spring and autumn is not uncommon, demand and leakage in the network tends to be lowest during these periods helping to buffer potential impacts. UTILITY WEEK | 25th - 31st October 2013 | 25

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