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25th April 2016

New Droughts and Flooding Report Published

The UK Water Partnership has published a new report

The UK Water Partnership has published a new report Droughts and Floods – towards a more holistic approach, which can be found with an accompanying blog by the leading author Jim Wharfe.

The UK Water Partnership is now exploring how to take forward the recommendation for a more holistic environmental approach to flooding and drought research, innovation and implementation, including opportunities for a range of ecosystem-related markets.

25th April 2016

Workshop on pharma residues in the environment and bioremediation

Problems are caused by pharmaceutical residues entering drinking water, rivers and waste water effluents.

Problems are caused by pharmaceutical residues entering drinking water, rivers and waste water effluents. This raises difficult issues for public health professionals, while the water industry needs innovative and sustainable technologies to deal with them.

This event is being staged to highlight the scale of these issues, identify ways in which we can make a significant difference to public health concerns, as well as heading off the risks posed to Scotland’s international reputation as a pristine location, which food and drink, tourism and other important sectors rely on.

Importantly, there are significant opportunities here for businesses to provide technologies and services to reduce the risks, and be part of building Scotland’s reputation as a World leader in research and good practice in this sector.

You are invited to become involved, by joining this one-day workshop, at the Centre for Health Science, Raigmore, Inverness on Wednesday June 1 2016.

Who should attend:

  • Estates and waste managers – from the NHS and other organisations producing substantial volumes of wastewater and other discharges
  • Utility and water companies - and businesses in their supply chains
  • Public Health practitioners and other interested clinicians
  • Anyone developing relevant technological solutions - especially sustainable biotechnological approaches
  • Researchers interested in the water cycle, soil and the environmental contamination from pharma, other currently-recognised priority substances and emerging contamination issues.
  • People interested in developing the sustainable use of resources and circular economy
  • Statutory regulators 

Please save the date  -  further details will be circulated over the next few weeks: if you are interested in making a presentation at this meeting please get in touch

We would be grateful if you could pass this email on to any colleagues who would be interested in this meeting or its outcomes - and you can sign up to our circulation list here

Places at the workshop are free, and can booked at Eventbrite

1st November 2015

Learning from community led flood risk management

While flood risk management (FRM) policy in Scotland requires the consideration of natural flood management (NFM), many landowners do not yet support their implementation. Since many measures to support NFM can only be carried out with the support and participation of land-managers, it is particularly important to understand the perceptions of these stakeholders.

1st November 2015

The Value of Scotland’s Water Resources – Legal Analysis

In 2010, the Scottish Government launched its ‘Hydro Nation’ initiative. Hydro Nation was conceived as a policy platform to bring together different aspects of the management of Scotland’s water resources, in order to maximise the value of that resource base. The first consultation was very much focused on Scottish Water, the public water services supplier in Scotland, and addressed, inter alia, how Scottish Water could maximise the use of its assets, in order to support various policy objectives. These might include, in the domestic arena, maximising renewable energy generation; but also, further afield, providing technical advice, and advice on regulation and governance models for water services. 

The epidemiology and disease burden potential relating to private supplies in Scotland

Highland cow in stream

This project seeks to develop an understanding of the epidemiology and disease burden contribution of private supplies on the public health of the populations (indigenous and transient) exposed to the drinking water supplies. The output is expected to inform future regulation and public health monitoring strategies. The project will be delivered using a mixed method approach that includes both qualitative and quantitative analysis supported by mathematical modelling of small scale managed water systems.

Project Objectives

  • A literature review to explore the existing body of research on disease burden and epidemiology of small rural drinking water supplies.
  • A review of existing data to include existing water quality data and health surveillance reports.
  • Map out water quality failures against clusters of illness within the community.
  • Establish alternative sources of disease.
  • Scope out a Quantitative Microbiological Risk Assessment approach to assessing the disease burden of small rural supplies.
  • Scope out an appropriate risk assessment model that can be used to inform future regulation.
  • Scope out a series of metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of treatment of rural water systems and the risk to public health.
  • Make recommendations which inform improvements to management of private supplies.
Contact Richard Allan

Engaging communities around private water supplies

Rural communities face particular challenges for access to affordable energy, treatment and disposal of waste and the provision of drinking water supplies. This area of work aims to help achieve the SRC vision by working with community groups to explore the issues around the provision of private water and waste water supplies. Often in rural areas, drinking water sources may not provide resilience in dry periods, and are more costly than supplying urban areas.  In addition, the quality of private water supplies is highly variable which has associated health risks e.g. e-coli. Failures are often due to poor or unmaintained treatment systems, and sources with variable quality (especially during wet weather events).

Scottish Government is working towards improving the quality of these supplies and this project is an integral part of that work. Scotland is in a good position to lead the way on innovative solutions and community engagement is central to any changes being effective.

Project Objectives

  • Engage communities about PWS issues and to: identify improvements in engagement practises specifically relating to private/waste water supply challenges.
  • Understand where there is a perceived lack of need, whether this is associated with a lack of interest or a lack of knowledge and understanding about the health risks associated with PWS
  • Increase understanding about what encourages rural communities to engage around PWS issues
  • Explore ways with the communities that change could be instigated
Rural communities face particular challenges for access to affordable energy, treatment and disposal of waste and the provision of drinking water supplies. The Sustainable Rural Community concept envisions a paradigm shift in delivery of these services and aims to deliver a closed loop system that would be carbon and energy neutral, cost-effective and resilient.

The drivers for this theme include the Hydro Nation Strategy and Scottish Water objectives and include cross-cutting issues such as climate change. Other relevant water policies include the need to improve the quality and resilience of private water supplies driven by compliance with the Drinking Water Directive and the performance of septic tanks to help meet WFD objectives.

CREW is working with Scottish Water, DWQR and SEPA to achieve this vision.

Research needs identified to date include developing the evidence base, quantifying the flow of nutrients, identifying innovative technologies to improve small scale water management, assessing the health risks associated with private water supplies and working with community groups on small scale sustainable drinking water supply and waste water management.

Over 99% of public supplies for drinking water in Scotland complied with current standards. Our public supplies are delivered to our taps via 458 different sources (including rivers, lochs, and springs), 47,000 km of water mains and over 250 water treatment works. In private water supplies, serving 3% of the population, compliance is reduced to 88-94% in some areas.

The drinking water quality standards in Scotland largely stem from the EU Drinking Water Directive and subsequent enabling legislation. Drinking water quality from public water supplies is of high quality, demonstrating a continued improvement in drinking water quality. Challenges still exist around the provision and quality of private supplies.

Research needs identified include long term changes in raw water quality and the impacts of land use change and climate change, the implications of a lead free Scotland, risks to private water supplies, communicating drinking water quality metrics to the public, and the use of innovative technologies to destroy algal blooms

CREW is working with both Scottish Water and the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) to address pressures and protect drinking water quality.

In 2009, Scotland adopted the Flood Risk Management Act to introduce a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management, and to better face the impact of climate change. Recently, SEPA published their flood risk and hazard maps. The final stage is in producing national and local flood risk management plans.

CREW is working with Scottish Government, SEPA and Scottish Water on a number of flooding projects most recently on NFM, coastal flooding, flood risk and mental health, and surface water flood forecasting in urban communities. Research needs have been identified to include: public perceptions of uncertainty; effectiveness and transferability of Natural Flood Management measures and; impacts of, and resilience to, climate change


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