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Desalination comes to the capital

Mainland UK’s first major desalination plant was opened on 7 June to provide London with a supply to use in the event of a drought.

A mood for change

The current regulatory framework for water was developed to manage the industry's transition to privatisation. CIWEM's executive director, Nick Reeves, asks whether it can now cope with the challenges posed by climate change

Work with nature, not against it

The effects of urbanisation and industrialisation on the fragile balance between land and water have been known for many years. Ciwem's Nick Reeves believes a fundamental shift in attitudes and practices is needed to prevent these finite resources from irrevocable depletion.

How to attract investment

The UK water and wastewater industry is struggling to attract private investors because of concerns over security of supply and the need for increasingly efficient wastewater treatment. Phil Bolton of Watson-Marlow reports.

Desalination - a necessary evil?

The government's approval of a £200M desalination plant in east London highlights its failure to secure the sustainable use of resources, writes CIWEM's executive director Nick Reeves

How to avoid danger

Plant managers and engineers need to be more careful when specifying flow control meters, writes Martyn Rowlands of Durapipe UK. Choosing the wrong unit, he says, could be a very costly mistake.

Lessons on drought from down under

Singapore and Australia are each battling their own water resource problems. A British Water global mission visited both countries to see how they are dealing with the issue. Dr Ian Pallett reports.

How to make rainwater management work

Waterscan's innovative Aqua-Control systems have been approved to join the UK Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme. Neil Pendle outlines the driving forces that are expanding the commercial rainwater management market.

Flood defence: Get the right product

Climate change is placing a strain on traditional drainage. But the building industry is still wrestling with the implications of having to design and construct flood alleviation systems. Michelle Fleming looks at the issues at stake.

In the eyes of the media

When there are problems in public services, people blame the media for making things worse. But it might be better to change how we work with them, writes Barrie Clarke.

Affordable desalination deemed success

The Affordable Desalination Demonstration Project was launched two years ago, and set out to demonstrate that seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination could produce a cubic metre of product water for an energy cost of 1.7kWh. It also sought to establish the relationships between RO reject rate, membrane salt rejection, permeate quality, boron levels, feed pressure and energy consumption. Thomas F Seacord of Carollo Engineers, Steven D Coker of FilmTec Corporation and John MacHarg of the Affordable Desalination Collaboration demonstrated a very successful outcome in a paper presented to the American Membrane Technology Association Conference in August. The following article is adapted from the paper presented at Anaheim.

Australia ramps up desalination deployment

The Water Corporation of Western Australia (WCWA) is on schedule to commission the southern hemisphere's largest desalination plant, in Perth, early next year. Gary Crisp of WCWA reports on how the plant has addressed the challenges of environmental sustainability and technological feasibility and heralds increased uptake of reverse osmosis technology in Australia.

Electrification plan for Cuban irrigation

Much of the antiquated irrigation equipment in use in Cuba is rusty, very inefficient and environmentally damaging. Linda Cechura of the OPEC Fund for International Development describes how the Government's 10-year plan to electrify the nation's irrigation systems has already benefited farmers in Ciego de Avila province.

Overlooking the obvious

Rainwater harvesting can drastically cut water demand - yet it is being grossly underestimated, writes Chris Williams.

How many planets?

Today there are more than twice the number of people alive than there were 50 years ago, and we've breached environmental limits. It's time for a population policy, writes Nick Reeves

Extreme measures

The water industry is a heavy user of energy. And extreme weather caused by climate change is a growing burden for the industry. As water quality requirements have been driven up, so have the energy requirements to achieve them. Merlin Hyman reveals all.

A different kind of market

With a different and more liberal market for water, says Ciwem executive director, Nick Reeves, Britain could avoid future crises

Guardian of the Gateway

With 25,000 new homes being built over the next 20 years, the north Kent region of the Thames Gateway is a huge project. Tom Idle met up with Paul Williams, the man who will ensure the environment is considered at all stages of the development

Sino-Dutch team develops Yellow River plan

Conflicting demands on water resources for urban and agricultural uses, combined with a variable rainfall pattern, is seriously impacting on livelihoods and the environment in the central part of the Yellow River basin in north-east China. Robert Smit and Koen Roest of Wageningen University & Research Centre (WUR), in The Netherlands, report on a Dutch-Chinese partnership project that is investigating options for groundwater and surface water management in the region.

How to make a little go a long way

The current drought is the second serious one to have hit the UK in ten years. Back in the mid-1990s, road tankers were used to transport water to the worst-hit area - West Yorkshire. But what contingency plans do the water utilities now have in place to ensure the supply of water? Sally Nash investigates

Dealing with drought

The drought in the South-east has bought into focus the management of water resources. Jon Reed reviews what water companies and the Environment Agency can do to manage demand

Beating the drought

Two consecutive dry winters are to blame for the current drought - the third to have occurred since 1976 - and its impact on water resources in the South-east. With water management now under the public's microscope, Jonathan Reed looks at what can be done to manage the demand for water and maintain available supplies, whilst minimising impacts on the environment.

Co-operation is key to resource management

In the run-up to WWF4, the Head of the Secretariat, César Herrera, is calling for solidarity from the global community in meeting development challenges, managing transboundary river basins and countering the effects of climate change.

Sensor protects Cheddar Gorge

Sensors from a UK instrumentation specialist, Gems Sensors, are helping to protect the ecology of the River Yeo as it flows from the historic Cheddar Gorge in south-west England. Colin Lussenden, product manager at Gems explains the importance of accuracy and reliability in this environmentally sensitive region.

Water wars

Never mind oil, says CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves, water could be the cause of the next global conflict

Tackling the water skills drought

The UK leads the world in water technology and yet we're facing a skills shortage that could cause irrevocable damage to the long-term future of our industry. The dearth of qualified engineers is affecting construction as a whole, but within the water sector the successes in AMP4 Frameworks and the rising need for contracting and consultancy services have compounded the issue and means there's an increasing need for engineering skills at all levels.

Cambodian polder plan boosts paddy production

The upgrade of the Prey Nup polders in Cambodia meant engaging farmers in a dialogue to manage water resources. Jean-Marie Brun of the French research and technological exchange organisation GRET describes how a new structure has nearly doubled rice production.

Establishing the sustainability of water efficiency measures

Mike Pocock, of Veolia Water, describes the latest developments in UKWIR's water-efficiency programme

The saline solution

Anthony Bennett, Technical Director at Clarity, reports on developments in UK desalination, the driving forces behind it, and its growing future

Intergration or inundation

Barrie Clarke of Water UK says the fear of flooding is putting pressure on planners and policy-makers to work together

Get what you pay for

Water metering - with safeguards for the vulnerable - is one of the best ways to manage demand, says CIWEM's Nick Reeves

The price of success

The south-east is a popular place to live and work, but with popularity come problems, not least with regard to water availability. Louise Every of the Institute for Public Policy Research assesses the issues

The researchers method enables them to relate the photoprotective capacity of a plant to the intensity of environmental light

Climate tolerant plants could benefit farmers, say researchers

A new way of measuring how much light a plant can tolerate could be a breakthrough in growing crops resilient to a changing climate, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London.

Matt Damon speaking out on water issues in Davos. photo credit: World Economic Forum

Nestlé credits Matt Damon for giving water the 'Bourne Ultimatum' factor

Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has praised Hollywood actor Matt Damon for speaking out on water scarcity issues at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting held last week in Davos, Switzerland.

Farming sector: 'time to pull plug on water waste'

Government policy must be shaped to enable farmers to better capture water "during times of plenty" to help the industry produce more food during shortages, says the NFU.

Businesses and households in Fife and the Lomond Hills area of Scotland are being encouraged to conserve water after a dry summer left reservoir levels lower than usual at this time of year

Customers in Fife urged to conserve water after 'very dry summer'

Scottish Water is asking households and businesses to help conserve water supplies in Fife, particularly in the Lomond Hills area. The move is because of the unusually prolonged spell of dry weather and low rainfall, which has left reservoirs and other raw water sources currently lower than normal water levels.

Scientists warn 500 million people at risk of future water scarcity

Over 7% of the world's population could be affected by water scarcity in the future as a result of climate change if global warming isn't abated.

VIDEO: UNICEF champions recycling human sweat into clean water

A device that generates clean drinking water from recycled human sweat has been created by UNICEF to highlight the pressing issue of global water scarcity.

Credit: shalunts / Shutterstock.com

Climate change strongly linked to rising violence, scientists say

The world is set to become more violent as global temperatures rise, with scientists warning this could lead to a "collapse in civilisation".

The rising water risk behind mining for metals

Water management is fast emerging as a critical issue within the metals and mining sector, whose high dependence on it is now throwing up a number of operational, financial and reputational challenges. Maxine Perella investigates

UN leader calls for 'global response' on World Day to Combat Desertification

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a collective global response to drought and a shift from crisis management to drought preparedness and resilience.

Diminishing water supply signals 'time to reverse land degradation'

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has called attention to the risks of drought and water scarcity and the importance of sustaining healthy soils.

EA chairman Lord Chris Smith

Water firms must 'share' supplies to improve resilience says EA chief

Water companies must secure water supplies against a changing climate and a growing population, says chairman of the Environment Agency (EA) Lord Chris Smith.

Do not underestimate 'massive' water consumption in fracking process warns expert

The excessive use of water in the process of hydraulic fracturing must not be underestimated given the unpredictable nature of water in the UK, according to head of climate resilience and adaption at civil engineering firm Jacobs, Steve Thompsett.

Businesses must 'build resilience' through mandatory carbon reporting

As the mandatory carbon reporting regulation comes into effect this month many businesses could be missing an opportunity to safe-guard their operations, says Martin Baxter.

Businesses encouraged to embrace sustainable water management

Businesses are being urged to consider a fresh approach to managing their water usage and disposal, through a new sustainable management concept, which aims to underpin business resilience and generate cost savings.

Yorkshire Water chief executive Richard Flint addressing delegates at the House of Commons

Collaborative effort needed to cut carbon in energy and water sectors

Stronger collaboration between utility companies could see a less carbon intensive delivery of electricity, gas and water, according to the chief executive of Yorkshire Water Richard Flint.

UN rallies to combat global drought

Four UN institutions have launched a project aimed at increasing water capacities and developing risk based water management policies to tackle drought around the world.

Extreme weather in 2012 demonstrates risk to British business

It is vital that businesses in Britain have a secure water supply in the face of increasingly extreme weather, according to the Environment Agency (EA) chairman Lord Smith.

NFU calls for long-term water security on farms

The NFU is urging farmers to build resilience into future water availability on farms so that they are in a better position to face the next drought.

UK Government should create 'water security task force'

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is calling for greater cooperation and planning to manage flooding and drought conditions after it was announced yesterday that 2012 was the second wettest year on record.

ANALYSIS: Extreme weather forces debate on climate adaptation

Pressure is mounting on society to 'accept and adapt' following news this week from the Met Office that UK businesses are at an increased risk of flooding due to extreme rainfall.

Global warming could be a factor in UK's wetter weather

Last year was the second wettest year in the UK on record and the rainfall is set to increase, according to the Met Office.

Europe must double efforts to protect water supply

Europe needs to intensify efforts to keep sufficient quantity and quality of fresh water to maintain the regions ecosystems, according to a series of reports published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Fracking potential risk to 'fragile' UK water supply

The water industry has expressed its concerns over the Government's announcement that fracking for shale gas will resume in the UK.

Preventative action needed on Europe's water vulnerability

Human-induced alterations to the environment such as land use, water abstraction and climate change are threatening Europe's natural cycle of water availability, according to a report published this week.

Wetland are crucial for water retention and flood prevention

Water management crucial in fight against rising tide of ecosystem damage

Water must be managed within sustainable limits in order to stop the damage to ecosystems, says the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Temperature to rise by 4°C with current C02 targets

Without further commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the world will see temperatures rise by four degrees and experience extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks and sea levels rise, according to a report by the World Bank.

Government condemned for 'disappointing' draft water bill

The Government's draft water bill lacks ambition and the plans are unlikely to provide the necessary changes within an acceptable timescale, according to the latest Westminster Sustainable Business Forum publication.

Government must take more action or risk further flooding, says environmental leaders

Lack of government action increases UK water risk

The risk of flooding and water shortage in 2013 has increased because the Government has been 'too slow' in taking action to improve water management in the UK, warn environmental leaders.

CEO of the World Economic Forum José María Figueres

Statesman on a mission to save the planet

Former president of Costa Rica and CEO of the World Economic Forum, José María Figueres has turned his full attention to climate change as president of the Carbon War Room and tells Rob Bell why business is key to winning the battle.

ronfromyork / Shutterstock.com

Flood and drought centre of excellence opens

In a timely move, considering current UK flooding levels, the University of Leicester will tomorrow launch a centre which aims to predict the effects of climate change and assess the impacts of severe drought and flooding.

Ofwat urged to recognise the true value of water in London

Water must be managed better in London, and leakage rates are not likely to improve significantly because Ofwat targets are not stringent enough, according to the London Assembly.

Natural water basins are still below normal levels despite the recent heavy fall

Water levels still below 'normal' despite heavy rain fall

Water levels in natural storage basins deep below the ground are in most cases still below "normal" despite the recent heavy rain fall.

Business must future-proof against extreme weather

Companies must consider the risks and opportunities provided by more 'freak' weather patterns, according to business leaders.

Food and drink sector urged to cut back on water usage

Food and drink businesses are being challenged to reduce water usage, looking at everything from repairing leaks to considering switching production for a wet to dry process.

Government under fire for weak stance on water metering

Support has come flooding in for a new report that slams the Government's approach to water metering as "weak" and raises concerns over whether plans outlined in the Water White Paper will be enough to stop rivers running dry.

Coca-Cola $3.5m drive to advance clean water access

Coca-Cola has pledged to commit $3.5m to help accelerate the development of sustainable water access in drought-hit parts of Africa.

South East Water says restrictions stay for now

While water companies Southern, Thames and Anglian have lifted their water restrictions South East Water (SEW) has stressed it is keeping temporary use bans in place, as it continues to carefully monitor water levels. SEW said recent rainfall has boosted river and reservoir levels but "has had little impact" on the region's groundwater sources, many of which remain at severe levels.

Three water companies to end hosepipe bans

Thames Water, Anglian Water and Southern Water have announced today that the hosepipe bans, which came into force on April 5, will be lifted tomorrow.

Thames Water boss scoops major bonus

Thames Water's annual report has revealed that its chief executive Martin Baggs scooped a six-figure bonus - despite hosepipe bans and falling customer satisfaction.

World leaders must react faster to climate change, says task force

A high-level climate change task force has warned that world leaders must do more to react to climate change, and calls for the Rio+ 20 conference to take threat seriously.

Former edie awards winner launches project into agricultural water efficiency

Environmental solutions consultant ADAS and Cranfield University are exploring ways to improve the efficiency of water use for irrigated food crop production.

Drought boosts popularity of rainwater harvesting

Drain Center has seen sales of its rainwater harvesting kits rocket by 40% compared to last year, as a result of UK drought.

South East Water makes £1.5m leakage investment

South East Water (SEW) has awarded technology company i20 Water a £1.5m contract to supply leakage management systems in a bid to tackle drought in the south east.

Gardening business granted hosepipe ban holiday

Gardening, landscaping and turf businesses in the south east have been offered a short-term respite from the hosepipe ban to help them maintain their businesses.

Business engagement will drive economy, says Ofwat

Managing business customer expectations and creating a sustainable water supply legacy needs to be the challenge water companies address, according to Thames Water and Ofwat.

Drought status removed from three more areas

South West England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire have been removed from the Environment Agency's (EA) drought list due to the recent heavy rainfall.

Third of businesses blame UK drought on leakage

Water companies have once again come under fire from businesses, which believe that failure to take adequate action on leakage has contributed to UK drought, an edie poll has revealed.

Increase water bills, says Lords

Government must allow the cost of water to increase and act faster than the Water White Paper suggests - if the UK is to protect its dwindling water resources.

Trade union blames UK drought situation on reservoir closure

UK water supplier Thames Water has come under fire from trade union GMB for closing more than 20 reservoirs, which it argues is responsible for making drought in the south east worse.

Green Party: Hosepipe bans due to water mismanagement

The UK's drought status and hosepipe ban during a period of torrential rain is the result of mismanagement by water companies.

WaterAid benefits from edie reporter's marathon efforts

Edie reporter Carys Matthews completed the Brighton Marathon yesterday (April 15) in a super fast time and raised hundreds of pounds for WaterAid in the process.

Drought status spreads despite wet weather

The Environment Agency (EA) has this morning confirmed that the Midlands and South West regions have been moved to environmental drought status, despite last week being the wettest week across England and Wales since the start of January.

Credit: homeros / Shutterstock.com

Coca-Cola delivers water security to drought-hit Somalia

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has launched an initiative to increase the water security of thousands of people in Somalia.

Water companies consider water trading proposals

The UK must take a "more strategic overview of water management" if it is to avoid the "spectre" of drought becoming an annual event.

Local council aims to cut water use by 20%

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has revealed that a new grant scheme could help it reduce its water consumption by 20%.

Sunlight reveals water and energy savings

Textile rental and laundering services Sunlight has revealed it reduced its annual water usage by 50% and carbon emissions by 21.5% in 2011, against a 2005 baseline.

Water companies warn hosepipe bans could last all summer

Water restrictions are set to come into force for southern and eastern England customers later this week as seven water companies pull the plug on hosepipe use.

IN-DEPTH: Concerns over water resources rising

A growing number of European countries are concerned about their water resources, with chemical pollution and climate change considered the greatest threat to the water environment.

UK's fourth busiest airport slashes water use by a third

London Stansted Airport (LAE) has reduced its water consumption by nearly 33% in just 12 months - saving about 205m litres of water across its site.

Freshwater challenges set to tax food producers

British farmers will struggle to meet rising food demands unless smarter tactics are employed to conserve freshwater supplies on arable land.

Water users urged to use 'wisely' to protect wildlife

Businesses, farmers and households are being urged to reduce their water usage in a bid to protect wildlife from the damaging impact of drought.

Greater interconnection of the supply network and transfer of water across regions will be key to ensure water is not the weakest link

Interconnection is key to UK water scarcity challenge

The UK faces some serious challenges if it is to maintain the balance of water supplies through the 21st century. Steven Lambert, principal consultant at Isle Utilities, believes interconnection and innovation is the answer

ADSM director Patrick McCart, London NHS Trust programme director Matthew Tully and environment manager Fiona Daly and WaterAid business development exec Pete Lamb

London NHS Trust cuts water usage by 30%

The London NHS Trust has reduced its water consumption by more than 30% - cutting more than 100m litres from its operations since 2009.

Europe must improve water efficiency to boost green economy

Water efficiency efforts must be "redoubled" by Europe in a bid to bolster the green economy, according to a new report.

UPDATED: Water restrictions expected next month

In light of today's (March 12) announcement that water restrictions are set to come into force next month, edie asks water intensive industry how it will be affected.

Environment Committee thrashes out capital's sustainability priorities

London businesses must be encouraged to reduce water consumption and switch to greener energy sources in a bid to boost the green economy and create a better quality environment in which to work.

United Utilities consider north-south water pipeline project

Drought in the UK's water stressed southern regions could be tackled through water networking, according to United Utilities, which has mooted the idea of running a north-south pipeline alongside controversial HS2 high speed rail network.

Industry looks East

The White Water Paper sets out plans to stimulate further investment in the UK water industry. British contractors should not be surprised to find themselves competing against Asian companies, says Dean Stiles

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