As part of the process to develop a regional water resources strategy, the Group has set up the Water Resources in the South East (WRSE) Regional Modelling Project. This is exploring opportunities for sharing existing and new resources while meeting environmental objectives. At the same time, it is evaluating alternatives for managing demand for water – all of which are intended to minimise the cost to customers.
Computer modelling is a complex process by which a wide range of factors is fed into a program to determine various outcomes. In simple terms, it’s forecasting the likely demands for water and comparing this with the supplies likely to be available.
Each WRSE member has an important role to play in supplying data for the model and the key areas of work for the Group and its consultants are as follows:
- To develop a new regional ‘peer-reviewed’ least-cost optimization model to explore options and various scenario solutions to balance supply and demand across the South East of England
- To provide consistent and appropriate cost information so that options can be assessed (in regional modeling and in discussions) on a ‘like for like’ basis
- To complete consistency reviews of this data and use it to refine option cost information as appropriate
- To consider new and existing water resources, and water supply and demand management options, including inter-company transfers or other resource sharing options
- To review the barriers to progress of WRSE work and its implementation and work to remove these barriers
- To recognise the potential impact of sustainability reductions that may be necessary to satisfy the requirements of the Habitats and Water Framework Directives (these are intended to protect water environments)
- To take account of social and environmental costs, and wider benefits including willingness to pay and value of water, to ensure an overall cost benefit approach to finding long term solutions.
Water Resources Management Plans
Every water company must have a Water Resources Management Plan and update it every five years. Vital statistics from these plans are incorporated into the computer model, as is data supplied by other stakeholders (For example, water companies on the boundaries of our combined region).
The result of all this work is that a range of scenarios can be tested and evaluated, and critical decisions made which will ensure a resilient yet affordable water supply for years to come.