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Reeding towards a sustainable future

Reed bed technology is set to play an integral part in helping water companies comply with the WFD regulations and help them meet AMP5 targets. And in Wales, Forced Bed Aeration is already making a difference.

Green route to developing Africa

Many assume that multinationals investing in developing countries abandon their environmental principals in the quest for a fast buck. But, on a recent trip to East Africa, Tom Idle was surprised to find cement giant Lafarge is going to extraordinary lengths to apply green principals in this dynamic emerging market

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.

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.

Understanding the Blueprint

The coalition that produced the Blueprint for Water has insisted it is not directly criticising water companies or Ofwat in its ten-point plan of action to solve the country's water crisis. Rather, it is an attempt to look at the 'totality of water management'. Sally Nash reports.

Suds: Breaking down barriers

New planning guidance will mean better landscaping as developers will have to consider sustainable drainage systems. Richard Whale, chair of EIC's Water Pollution Control Working Group, reports

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.

Chambers transforming decentralised treatment

The need for onsite wastewater treatment (WWT) in North America has been driven by high land prices and environmental regulation. Dennis F Hallahan, technical director of US WWT specialist Infiltrator Systems explains how innovations in the technology make it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Mekong modelling project benefits SE Asia

Finnish environmental experts have teamed up with the Mekong River Commission's Water Utilisation Programme in a project that combines modelling technology with social research and training to improve knowledge and management of one of the world's largest river basins. As Ilona Suojanen of WUP-FIN explains, this knowledge can be used in future projects in the region.

Reuse, reduce, recycle

Water-reuse seems a logical solution to increasing water shortages. But would industrial, commercial and residential customers best be served by a entralised or decentralised water-reuse system? Alan Rimer, Cindy Wallis Lage and Frank Rogalla of Black & Veatch report

Keeping flamingos in the pink

With tens of thousands of visitors flocking to see its flamingos and their other water companions, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust must try to keep the ponds clean and odour-free. Is using recycled glass for filtration the answer?

What lies beneath

Martin Preene discusses the carbon-reducing benefits of heat-pump technology. Unlike geothermal methods, it can extract even moderate heat from the earth - while cooling it

Aral Sea Project I reaching completion

Images of fishing boats stranded on the desertified, salt-encrusted bed of what was formerly the Aral Sea, the world's fourth largest inland lake, caused widespread shock when they came to public attention in 1997. Michael Haigh, divisional director in Mott MacDonald's Water and Environmental Management division, reports exclusively for World Water on the first phase of the Aral Sea Basin Project, which is designed to secure the existence of the North Aral Sea, sustain and increase agriculture and fishing, and improve human health.

Water efficiency is key in California

The USA's independent environmental think-tank, the Pacific Institute, has just released a report that claims that efficiency measures could reduce statewide water use in 2030 by 20%, despite economic and population growth. Research associate, Heather Cooley, and president of the Institute, Peter H Gleick, explain how efficiency, conservation and technology could create a sustainable future.

Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (April 06)

Recent changes to legislation which will impact on the environmental sector in the UK, Europe and internationally come under the spotlight in this Semple Fraser and Edie News monthly round-up of new law and policy. Among the developments this month we see revisions to EU clean water rules with a new version of the Bathing Water Directive, while in the UK new ETS allocation rules provide for pre-2004 installations.

SUDS - where there's a will...

The use of sustainable urban drainage has been limited to flood risk management. However, the EIC's Water Pollution Control Working Group believes further benefits can be provided and is publishing a paper - the SUDS Position Paper - outlining what those are. Richard Whale explains.

New horizons

Stephen Bolt looks at the far-reaching implications that the conclusion of the Water Framework Directive is likely to bring

Intergration or inundation

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

Defra awards £100K for flood management

A dozen Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) in England have been awarded Defra funding to carry out projects which manage flood risk and protect local wildlife.

The Duke of Edinburgh courtesy of Atlas Pix Shutterstock

Prince Philip to celebrate 25 years of honorary fellowship

The Duke of Edinburgh will be celebrating 25 years honorary fellowship of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) at a reception at Buckingham Palace next week (October 11).

Sustainable solutions

New European wastewater treatment technologies might help Florida, which is pursuing tighter discharge consents to sensitive surface waters, says Frank Rogalla of Aqualia

Innovative wetland system gains ground

A technology designed for wetland treatment of landfill leachate can help optimise other wetland sites, say Craig Fannin, associate director, and Paul Danes, senior consultant, with AMEC's UK Earth & Environmental business

Conference maps UK water policy

Following two highly successful water conferences in 2009 and 2010, Future Water returns on 13 July 2011. The one-day national policy conference will be held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, and will bring together policy makers, industry leaders and stakeholders to map solutions for the challenges facing the water sector.

St Germans pumping station keeps fens flood-free

The 100m3/s capacity pumping station at Wiggenhall St Germans in Norfolk has now been formally opened by Lord James Russell, marking the culmination of this huge construction and flood defence project. Atkins’ John Sheppard explains.

Natural Capital refers to resources that provide goods and services essential to a functional society and economy, such as water, timber and food

Britain must prioritise and invest in natural capital, says Aldersgate Group

A major new report released today (17 November) calls on the UK Government to support businesses investing in natural capital by improving policy integration to reduce costs and promote growth.

Irish ocean energy firm makes waves in US

An Irish company has secured funding from the US government for further development of ocean energy technology.

New plan backs marine energy for 15M homes

The Government has announced plans to harness the power of the sea to generate electricity for up to 15m homes.

A case of clouded thinking?

Sustainable drainage systems could play a vital role in a range of water management uses. But the Flood & Water Management Bill going through Parliament is just not recognising their potential, says Bob Sargent.

Flexible friends

Developers can no longer ignore SUDS. Which is why manufacturers have such an important role to play in developing adoptable solutions, says Mike Shaw.

A water vole

Water vole sightings double

The UK's fastest declining mammal the water vole is making a return to the nations waterways.

Climate change adaptation needs human focus

Delegates from the universities of Cambridge and California San Diego met with politicians at the Global Water Initiative conference to develop an action plan for adaptation to the impacts of regional climate change on African water supplies.

Australia releases billions of litres of water to protect parched environment

Australia's drought-plagued Murray-Darling river basin is to receive respite in the form of 3.1 billion litres of water.

Back to the future

Re-inventing CSOs and implementing SUDs are key to meeting WFD challenges. Professor David Balmforth, technical director of MWH, explains why

Jack Carnell

South Staffs Water boss is new EU Skills chairman

South Staffordshire Water managing director Jack Carnell is the new chairman of Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills), the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the gas, power, waste management and water industries. He has taken over from John Wybrew, who has been chairman for the past five years.

WYG Ireland to provide national groundwater data

The international multi-disciplinary consultant WYG Ireland has been contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide groundwater quality data to help in the national assessment of Ireland's groundwater.

Conservation: pressure's on to solve drainage issue

The floods two years ago, and resultant damage, remain fresh in the public's memory. With parts of the country severely water stressed, will the new measures being mooted for conserving water actually help to ease storm flooding?

The conditions in Norway will test cyclists

Adventurous people wanted for Water Industry Cup

WaterAid is calling on teams to compete for the Water Industry Cup at this year's Cisco Euro Challenge to raise funds for charity.

Gentle approach was needed

Grontmij’s technical manager, Harriet Carlyle, and the consultancy’s former head of ecology, Simon James, explain how potential hydro-ecological impacts of a utility’s water abstractions were assessed using modelling

Fresh take on an old idea

There is nothing new about rainwater harvesting - it has been with us for centuries. Dr Ian Pallett looks at the need to take this old concept into the future - for the sake of sustainability - and at the regulations and technologies involved.

Taking the more natural approach to sewage

David Barrett of natural wastewater treatment solutions provider ARM discusses the use of reed bed technology in sewage treatment in partnership with water companies across the UK

A drop more sustainability

Merlin Hyman, director of the Environmental Industries Commission, takes a looks at strategies affecting the future of our water, and reckons Ofwat should be setting itself wider sustainable development responsibilities

Greener guidance for Ofwat

Defra has launched a consultation on the draft statutory Social and Environmental Guidance to Ofwat as part of the Water Strategy. Merlin Hyman discusses the EIC's reaction to it.

Making SUDS standard practice

The problem with the uptake of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) is not one of technology, writes Bob Sargent, vice chair of the EIC's Water Pollution Control Working Group

Fighting the failure of sustainable drainage

Despite the essential role of sustainable urban drainage systems, they are not being taken up as they should. So the EIC has presented recommendations to government to encourage their adoption. Bob Sargent reports.

Anglian throws down climate change gauntlet to suppliers

If suppliers don't clean up their acts and join with Anglian Water's efforts to lower carbon emissions, the utility will stop doing business with them. But, as Maureen Gaines found out, the suppliers are more than eager to accept the challenge.

The great crested newt - blissfully ignorant of the debate

£15k to save newt 'ludicrous' says council

Cheshire County Council has hit out at EU rules requiring it to find a new home for newts found on school land where building work is planned, arguing that a bill amounting to £15,000 per newt is 'ludicrous'.

As sea levels rise in line with global warming, coastal flooding could be costing nations $100,000bn a year

Sea defences not enough to protect delta cities from rising flood risk - study

Rich nations spend huge sums to keep the seas at bay but wealth may not save them indefinitely.

Wetlands experts debate impact of flooding on biodiversity

Experts on the UK's wetlands gathered in force at the World Wetlands Day Conference 2008, hosted by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), to debate the future role of wetlands. Colin Studholme, from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and Duncan Huggett, from the Environment Agency, took the floor to discuss the impact of flooding on wetlands. Their speeches can be heard on edie audio.

Concerns raised over role of wetlands

Flood risk management and the protection of biodiversity are not necessarily compatible functions of wetlands, a leading figure from the Environment Agency has said.

The Blueprint for Water coalition reiterates that dredging is only one small part of the solution to flooding

Dredging up Trouble: Government urged to resist 'playing politics' over flood prevention

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) must turn its focus away from dredging towards other proven flood-prevention measures if it wants to avoid another catastrophic winter.

£18m cash boost for Glasgow flood defences

Grants totalling £18million are to be poured into Glasgow's flood defences over the next four years, Scottish government ministers have announced.

Hurricane Katrina devasted Louisiana

Thumbs up for plan to restore and protect Louisiana coast

A coastal protection and restoration plan for the state of Louisiana has been given the go-ahead by the Louisiana's state legislature, following the devastations of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

EU lawmakers agree new flood directive

A Europe-wide flood management policy came a step closer to realisation after the EU Parliament and Council approved the Floods Directive this week.

The Aral Sea in 2004, prior to the dam being built.

Aral Sea 'making good recovery'

The Aral Sea is recovering faster than expected as the dam built in 2005 continues to bring the desired effects, according to the World Bank, which funded the Kok-Aral dam project.

The Danube River has seen 80% of its floodplains and wetlands disappear over the past 150 years

Coca-Cola tackles water scarcity with Danube restoration project

Coca-Cola Enterprises has reinforced its global water stewardship efforts in a ground-breaking collaboration with WWF to restore vital wetlands and floodplains along the Danube River.

Poland's motorway through peatlands on hold

Plans to build a motorway across one of Europe's last remaining unspoilt peatlands were put on hold until August, as Polish law forbids construction work within the nature reserve during the bird breeding season which started on March 1st.

Poland faces court over motorway through protected wetlands

The EU threatened legal action against Poland on Tuesday over the construction of a motorway that would destroy Europe's only remaining ancient peat land if built.

The Rospunda Valley is just one of the environmentally sensitive areas threatened by road builders

Road builders told they could be heading for fines

Polish campaigners are trying a new tactic to thwart plans to build a motorway through protected wetlands by telling construction companies they could be forced to pay for the environmental damage they cause.

Shell is keen to alert policymakers and business leaders to the 'stress nexus' (photo credit: Shell International Ltd)

Shell points to 'resource resilience' for future cities

Shell has called for more co-operation and collaboration within cities to build resilience to growing pressures on global energy, food and water systems.

Water meters, quotas and fines to solve 'water crisis'

Water meters for all homes and a "huge increase" in fines for polluting are needed to save Britain's rivers and wetlands, an alliance of conservation and angling groups has said.

Sustainably sourced bioenergy has the potential to contribute around 11% of the UK's energy demand by 2020, according to the Government

SMEs receive £1.3m to spur on bioenergy technology

The Government is encouraging innovation in sustainably sourced bioenergy by providing British companies with £1.3m, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker announced today.

Natural Capital - the missing piece of the economic jigsaw

There is a growing realisation among some businesses and policy makers that economics has failed to take account of a third form of capital, natural capital, says Claire Wansbury and Rupert Haines.

In conversation with Autodesk's Emma Stewart

In this week's 'In conversation', edie speaks to one of the company's leading innovation in 3D design, engineering and software. Autodesk's head of sustainability solutions, Emma Stewart, talks about the next steps in sustainable innovation.

The EA says a key issue to water efficiency in the region is flat-fee water charges, which are still common in parts of Europe.

EU must 'redouble efforts' on water efficiency or risk undermining economy

Europe needs to redouble its efforts on water efficiency and price water to reflect purifying and transportation costs, according to a new report by the EEA.

Water awards call for entries

News in Brief

Two new awards join RSA stable

News in Brief

Welsh Water's investment will fund environmental initiatives such as reducing phosphates in Llyn Padarn Snowdonia

Welsh Water raises investment to improve quality of rivers and wetlands

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) is investing a further £150,000 into environmental projects that aim to improve the quality of Welsh rivers, lakes and wetlands.

EXCLUSIVE: 'Support from the top' helping National Grid transform sustainably

National Grid is currently undergoing a colossal infrastructure transformation and for this to be sustainable, board level support and employee engagement is vital, says climate change manager Clare Naunton.

Oystercatchers will benefit, but so will people through better flood protection, Defra says

Essex fields flooded to create 'biggest' wetland

Over 100 hectares of fields on Wallasea Island in Essex were returned to the sea to make Britain's biggest man-made salt marsh, compensating for wetlands lost through port developments.

Scottish Water fined over pollution incident in Renfrewshire

Scottish Water has been fined £20,000 after a sewage spill from the Lochwinnoch Sewage Treatment Works located adjacent to Castle Semple Loch in Renfrewshire.

VW's solar PV array is the largest of any car manufacturer in the US

Why being green means thinking blue for Volkswagen

Waterless technology, rainwater harvesting, Platinum LEED certification and the largest solar PV array of any car manufacturer in the US, Rob Bell finds out what's driving VW's 'Think Blue.Factory' strategy at its Chattanooga facility stateside

'Soft' approach offers water security and flood protection for business

Businesses are in danger of relying too heavily on technological solutions for sustainable water management and need to take a more holistic approach in strategic planning.

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.

Green and pleasant land? Air and water quality are up but wild areas like Dartmoor will soon be feeling the impact of climate change

EA reflects on its past and looks forward to cleaner environment

The Environment Agency celebrated its milestone tenth anniversary this week and spoke to edie about past successes and hopes for the future.

DECC rolls out wetland biomass funding

Shares in a £2m Government subsidy have been offered to entrepreneurs in the UK aimed to spur on innovation in bioenergy.

The pollution of China's rivers adds to the mounting water crisis

Wetlands latest casualty in China's water crisis

Eighty per cent of the wetlands around the Haihe river in northern China have been sucked dry by industry and a growing population, Xinhua news agency reported this week, in the latest development of the country's water crisis.

England's wetlands could be restored

Parched England thrown watery lifeline

A major new project which will span five decades is to be launched in an effort to turn the tide on Englands disappearing wetlands - a valuable water resource.

The installation of a wetland plant

VIDEO: The river's edge - a journey of transformation

The team working on the rivers and wetlands of the Olympic Park, one of Europe's biggest greening projects, faced numerous challenges, explains Ruth Boyle of engineering consultancy Atkins

Dams destroy environment, group warns

Dams are continuing to cause excessive environmental damage despite recommendations from the World Commission on Dams to ensure environmental consideration.

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.

Planning to protect biodiversity and geology

Valuable habitats such as ancient woodland, heaths, wetlands, and meadows will be given extra protection under a new planning policy published this week.

The 2012 Olympics promises to be the most sustainable ever and will see huge swathes of contaminated land in London's Eastend cleaned up and reused.

Olympics: London's largest remediation project can now begin

A stark warning

With more than a thousand eminent scientists agreeing we are living beyond the capacity of the planet to support us, CIWEM executive director Nick Reeves asks can we learn to live within environmental limits?

CIWEM calls for Living Wetlands awards

CIWEM and RSPB are calling for entries to the 2006 Living Wetlands Award to reward projects that demonstrate the multiple functions and sustainable use of wetland habitats.

HSBC releases guidelines on investment in freshwater infrastructure

HSBC has launched guidelines governing its project finance activities in the freshwater infrastructure sector.

Under pressure

Twelve months ago, ERM's Alistair Fulton wrote for Environment Business on the environmental challenges facing the new EU Members States. This month we asked him how things have progressed

Water planning will clash with farming and wildlife, consultancy predicts

Water resource planning issues will clash with environmental legislation; dramatic increases in winter rainfall and even greater decreases in summer rainfall will force farmers to introduce wetlands and new water management techniques; and water shortages and hosepipe bans will become regular annual events.

Waste laws non-compliance: Case C-494/01 Commission v Ireland

Judgement was given in the above case on 26 April 2005. The case concerned alleged instances of non-compliance with the EU waste laws following twelve complaints received by the Commission against Ireland.

Irrigation equipment in a developing plantation. Photo Wrc

Reed bed research offers wastewater solution

The Kyoto Protocol on energy consumption and the EU Water Framework Directive on water pollution are driving a new EU LIFE Environment funded research project which aims to bring the concept of tertiary wastewater treatment, using renewable bioenergy, closer to commercial application. Alex Hutchinson, environmental scientist at WRc Group, UK, explains.

Environmental disruption in the Danube

Romanian opposition to the reopening of the Bystraya Canal on the Ukrainian side of the Danube delta is creating a potentially explosive dispute between the two neighbouring countries.

Green scheme to shift subsidy from production to protection

Farmers are being given the chance to live up to their self-proclaimed title of 'guardians of the countryside', with the launch of the Environmental Stewardship Scheme.

Iraq's marshes could be restored say scientists

Studies of the Iraqi Mesopotamian marshes have found that they could be partially restored and a valuable wetland environment recreated, provided sufficient water resources are made available.

Exploring catchment management

Justin Taberham of CIWEM and Bob Earll of Coastal Management for Sustainability offer some insight into the progress of river basin management plans in the UK

CIWEM Column

In the run-up to an election CIWEM executive director Nick Reeves is concerned that the short-term thinking of politicians is putting water supplies at risk...

Reed all about new systems

Angus Marland of Rockbourne Environmental reports on the recent use of constructed wetlands for sewage treatment

Testing the grey matter

Cranfield's selection of technologies for grey water recycling and reuse


Shakespeare's father was mayor and alderman of Stratford-upon-Avon. He was also a butcher and a skinner, making leather goods as a by-product of his butchery. A by-product of skinning was a rather unpleasant substance that had to be disposed of. On at least two occasions Shakespeare senior was prosecuted for depositing this noxious material into a tributary of the River Avon and for other related land management misdemeanours. So serious was the transgression that the punishment involved loss of mayoral office and imprisonment.

Endangered black-necked cranes grazing in the Napha Nature Reserver, Yunnan Province, China. The crane is considered a holy bird amongst the local community. Copyright WWF-Canon / Ni Xiao Zhong

Chinese wetlands protection extended

Wetland conservation in China has received a boost in the form of nine new protected sites, covering a total of 400,000 hectares.

Water and wastewater: 2004 in review

Debate in the world of water and wastewater during 2004 largely focused on the industry pricing review and what customers would be expected to pay, and what improvements they could expect to see, over the five year period between 2005 and 2010.

English and Welsh rivers will fail quality standards of framework directive

The ecological quality of Britain's rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters is so bad that many could fail the standards imposed by the EU Water Framework Directive, new figures from the Environment Agency suggest.

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