Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT May 2016

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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12 | MAY 2016 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk Industry leader Tony Harrington, Director of Environment, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water "Across the EU, sewerage remains the Cindarella service… we all need to do something about this together if we are to deliver fully for our customers and the environment." P lotting a course for the future of urban drainage in the UK is a daunting task: not only because of the host of challenges facing the sewer network in a time of climate change and flooding, but because of the number of people and organisations with a stake in proceedings. When national and local government, developers, water utilities, regulators and householders all have their own priorities, and drainage assets themselves are subject to complicated structures of ownership and responsibility, setting a strategic direction might seem a Herculean job. But Tony Harrington, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's Director of Environment who is chairing Water UK's group on Delivering 21st Century Drainage, is not a man to shirk from a challenge. Since last year, this group has brought together the key stakeholders and has set up seven workstreams, reporting to a single programme board, that seek to promote joined-up thinking and action on the issue. It is a field in desperate need of clear strategy and leadership, according to Harrington. "Right across the EU, sewerage remains the Cindarella service," he says. "We're still designing sewage systems in fundamentally the same way as we did in the 1970s. Our drainage systems are increasingly stressed because of the challenges of population growth and climate change, and we just haven't got the traction across all the stakeholders involved to deal with these issues. "We all need to do something about this together. We need not only improved ways of designing drainage systems, but different ownership structures to simplify the landscape and get the traction we need to progress improving services still further for our customers." The group is taking a 25-year time horizon and the areas where it has identified the need for action include drainage capacity planning, regulation, drainage misuse, groundwater inundation and drainage infrastructure deterioration. Harrington's experience of driving through Welsh Water's 'RainScape' sustainable drainage (SuDS) programme, which is working with local authorities to retrofit SuDS features, will stand him in good stead. DCWW is set to spend around £60M on the programme Interview by James Brockett

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