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29 May 2024

Webinar Summary: Sustainable Water Management

Webinar Summary: Sustainable Water Management

The webinar, titled "ESS 2050: Sustainable Water Management: Innovative Stormwater Overflow and Water Quality Projects," was held on 29 May 2050 and featured speakers from various sectors discussing innovative solutions and projects in sustainable water management.

Key Presentations and Highlights:
  • Sustainable Stormwater Management Projects:

    • Peter Holt, Arup: Highlighted international and local projects focused on managing stormwater sustainably. Key examples included early projects in Mansfield, Wood St. Cardiff, and Queen Mary’s Walk in Llanelli.
    • Technological Integration: Emphasis on using digital strategy tools to optimise stormwater interventions.
    • Blue and Green Infrastructure: Discussion on integrating natural landscapes (wooded areas, urban parks) with stormwater management systems to enhance water retention and quality.
  • The Catchment Approach to Reducing Overflows:

    • Nicole McNab, Southern Water: Presented the Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force’s initiatives to reduce storm overflows through a holistic community wastewater management approach.
    • Pathfinder Projects: Detailed various pilot schemes to optimise infrastructure, eliminate illegal connections, and implement Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in households, schools, and highways.
    • Future Goals: Plans to install over 200,000 water butts, manage 1,500 km of highway drainage, and plant over 60,000 trees by 2050.
  • Real-Time Water Quality Measurement:

    • Matt Wheeldon, Wessex Water: Emphasised the need for accurate, timely information to inform decision-making.
    • Innovative Monitoring: Use of low-cost continuous sensors and deep learning neural networks to predict water quality in real-time.
    • Public Health Implications: Highlighted the discrepancies between long-term water quality trends and current public health risks, advocating for real-time public health risk information to ensure safer water use.
  • Case Studies and Success Stories:

    • Whitstable and Isle of Wight: Showcased the success of infrastructure optimisation and the removal of illegal connections, resulting in significant reductions in stormwater overflows.
    • School SuDS Programmes: Examples of successful SuDS installations in schools, managing large volumes of surface water and reducing overflow impacts.
  • Challenges and Future Directions:

    • Resource and Planning Issues: Addressed the difficulties in resourcing and planning for large-scale sustainable water management projects.
    • Community and Environmental Benefits: Emphasised the multiple benefits of sustainable water management, including environmental conservation, public health improvement, and community engagement.
  • Conclusion:
    • The webinar concluded with a forward-looking perspective on sustainable water management, emphasising innovation, community involvement, and the integration of digital tools and green infrastructure to achieve long-term water quality and sustainability goals

For further information, participants were directed to various resources provided by the speakers, including detailed reports and interactive maps on ongoing and future projects.

For the full session, watch the recording back here.


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