Over recent years the UK has experienced atypical weather: two dry winters in 2004-6 prompted considerable public and media interest in water resources and the UK’s vulnerability to drought. This period was the driest in England and Wales since records began in 1767. Perhaps more significantly from a groundwater perspective, rainfall for the period December to March, when most groundwater recharge is expected, was at an all time low. In contrast, 2007 and 2008 have seen more records broken, but this time for extreme rainfall events.
Whilst better drought contingency plans coupled with intermittent wet weather during the summer of 2010 were sufficient to prevent some of the worst scenes from the droughts of the 1990s being repeated, water companies that are particularly dependent on groundwater had to watch the long term weather forecasts closely during this period.
At the same time it is estimated almost half of the groundwater used for public supply is now affected by quality problems. Already, with rising nitrate concentrations throughout the country, most of the scope for blending groundwater to meet drinking water standards has been exhausted.
Together these joint pressures on water resources and water quality are providing major technical challenges for all water companies. ESI has a very strong track record of working with the water industry to deliver practical and well thought through solutions to many of the challenges that water companies face. Over the last decade we have worked with most of the major UK water companies on a wide range of water resource, environmental and risk assessment projects.
Whilst the trend within the industry is for water companies to downsize their internal technical teams and to contract out much of the project management to large, multi sector consultancies, our discussions with our clients in the sector indicate a clear role for specialist consultancies such as ESI with our great depth of experience and technical expertise.
Clients: - Water Industry
- Severn Trent Water
- Thames Water
- South East Water
- Wessex Water
- Three Valleys Water
- United Utilities