UK WATER INDUSTRY RESEARCH

My UKWIR

Regulation research theme

Regulation

Regulation research is primarily driven by the economic regulatory frameworks that the water industry works within, in particular the requirements for water company Business Plans. It also covers the quality regulation frameworks that apply to the water industry, i.e. those that protect environmental and drinking water quality.

This research area covers issues such as customer engagement, metering, assessment of potential changes to regulatory requirements or frameworks, asset deterioration, uncertainty and benchmarking. In particular, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken to produce a Common Framework for Capital Maintenance which has been widely adopted by many companies and their regulators as the process for company business planning and reporting.


Programme Lead(S)

Frank Grimshaw

Regulation
United Utilities Water Limited

 

Sub-categories



 

Projects


 

Sustainability of Phosphate Dosing for WQ

Project Status Expressions of Interest

Phosphate is currently used by Water Companies  to provide a barrier between lead supply pipes and the water provided to their customers. This benefit only lasts while dosing continues. As soon as dosing ceases the barrier is removed and lead comes into contact with the drinking water. However, phosphate is a finite non-renewable resource so there will be a point when the dosing of this is unsustainable.



 

Transfer of Surface Water Assets

Project Status Project Commenced

There is an emergent debate about whether surface water drainage, and perhaps highways drainage also, should be transferred to sewerage undertakers in a similar way that private sewers were a few years ago. There are arguments for and against such a transfer, but the scale and consequence of what might be involved is largely unknown. 



 

Consumer involvement in price setting

Project Status Project Completed


 

Ofwat serviceability methodologies

Project Status Project Completed


 

Impact of vertical separation and competition on the water industry

Project Status Project Completed


 

Modelling Sludge Opex Efficiency

Project Status Project Completed


 

Advanced condition assessment and failure prediction technologies for optimal management of critical pipes

Project Status Project Completed


 

Capital Maintenance Planning: A Common Framework 2nd Edition (Re-named Framework for Expenditure Decision Making (Part 2: Development of Service Forecasting Approaches)

Project Status Project Completed


 

Capital Maintenance Planning: A Common Framework 2nd Edition (Re-named Total Investment Planning A Common Framework (Part 2: Development of Self Assessment Criteria)

Project Status Project Completed


 

Capital Maintenance Planning: A Common Framework 2nd Edition (Re-named Total Investment Planning A Common Framework (Part 2: Part 2: Web Deployment)

Project Status Project Completed


 

Capital Maintenance Planning: Asset Deterioration Database (WIDER)

Project Status Project Completed


 

Eels and coarse fish regulations review and methodology development to achieve cost effective compliance for water supply

Project Status Project Completed


 

Incentives to optimise water networks

Project Status Project Completed


 

Intelligent Assets - Condition and Performance Monitoring Techniques

Project Status Project submitted as Complete

To ensure companies achieve their performance commitments for AMP6 and beyond, it is important that critical assets are effectively and economically monitored to detect impending failure so that service to customers is unaffected.

The industry has various levels of technique and application of fixed and mobile monitoring technology (e.g. Thermal, vibration, acoustics, energy, laser scanning etc.). Technological developments and reducing costs of instruments also mean that permanent monitoring, local indicators or trend analyses are becoming viable.

There is a need to understand the wider options available, appropriate applications and the relationship of monitored indicators to asset life and whole life costs.

 

Leading asset performance indicators linking to ODIs and performance commitments

Project Status Project Completed


 

Long Term Investment in Infrastructure

Project Status Project Completed

This is a critical project for the industry. At some point the the rate of replacement in the infrastructure network (sewers and water mains) needs to increase. The current rate of replacement infers that sewers will last nearly 1000 years and water mains nearly 200.

The performance of these assets is relatively stable so making the case for additional investment is very hard from a short term economic and performance perspective.

This is fast becoming an intergenerational issue and we may be putting the burden of costs on to future generations.

Ofwat at PR14 took an historical approach to expenditure requirements, and the 'why is the future different' question was largely ignored in their modelling approach.

 

National Sewers and Distribution Mains Failure Database

Project Status Project submitted as Complete


 

National Sewers and Distribution Mains Failure Database: addition of CCTV defect data

Project Status Project Completed


 

National Sewers and Water Mains Failure Database

Project Status Project Completed


 

Best Practice for Sediment Management for Reservoirs and River Impoundments

Project Status Project Commenced

If the removal of sediment from behind an impoundment is required, whether it be a small weir or large dam, this requires an appropriate level of authorisation and should follow good practice methods. This applies to the accompanying restoration (to the downstream river) or disposal of removed sediments and to emerging gravel augmentation schemes where gravel is extracted downstream and dispersed upstream to mitigate for sediment starvation due to reservoir impoundments. These requirements are still relatively new and the practicality of implementing the requirements should be understood and tested.

The current legislation in Scotland is the Controlled Activities Regulation under the Water Framework Directive. In England & Wales, the legislation is the Water Resources Act (1991) or the Land Drainage Act (1991) (depending on whether the works are on a main river or not). Sediment management is also one of the mitigation measures for achieving good ecological potential within Heavily Modified Water Bodies (HMWB) to achieve compliance with the Water Framework Directive.

Presently, there is a range of sediment management obligations across the UK. In England & Wales, at least one company has formal obligations to produce sediment management plans at some of their sites and have carried out isolated sediment restoration trials, whilst in Scotland & other E&W regions, it is thought that requirements and implementation are less advanced. Identification of current practice in comparison with best practice is therefore needed to ensure compliance presently and for future obligations.

Less is known about the requirements of sediment management as a mitigation measure for assessment of ecological potential of HMWB. This is an emerging issue where water companies will/have formal drivers to investigate and implement sediment management and clarity on cost-effective best practice implementation is required.



 

Resilience – performance measures, costs and stakeholder communication

Project Status Project Completed

The Water Act 2014 gave Ofwat a new primary duty to further the resilience objective in the water industry, including highlighting the need for long-term resilience of water and wastewater systems and service provision when faced with increasing external stresses, such as environmental pressures, population growth and changes in consumer behaviour.

 

For business plans, companies will need to be able to:

  • Develop measures and targets which reflect customer priorities
  • Demonstrate that proposed costs are efficient

 

Meeting resilience requirements will also affect supply-demand planning. Updated WRMP and Drought Plan guidance moves water resources planning away from simply testing supply systems against historic droughts, with the intention of better understanding resilience to other types of drought. For example the latest Water Resources Planning Guideline states: “By testing your plan to a number of different droughts and aligning with your drought plan, you should be able to identify areas where resilience needs to be increased to meet customer and stakeholder expectations, or government policy”.

 

Improving resilience can involve choosing appropriate investments in the short-term to reduce risk for future customers, where the probabilities of risks occurring and their impacts are often uncertain difficult to predict. This makes it problematic to develop measures and targets. In addition, communicating risks in order to assess customer priorities poses difficulties.

 

The PR14 asset inventory a simplified alternative approach

Project Status Project Completed


 

Alternative Approaches to Efficiency Assessment and Economic Incentives (previously Reviewing efficiency incentives and targets)

Project Status Project Completed


 

Alternative measures of capital price inflation

Project Status Project Completed


 

Barriers to 100% compliance OR is it achievable?

Project Status Project Completed


 

Carrying out Willingness to Pay surveys

Project Status Project Completed


 

Defining and incentivising outcomes and measures of success

Project Status Project Completed


 

Developing an abstraction incentive mechanism

Project Status Project Completed


 

Impact of transfer of private drains and sewers on performance reporting

Project Status Project Completed


 

Opex and Capex incentives

Project Status Project Completed


 

Organics in Sludge - Phase III

Project Status Project Completed


 

Regulatory Incentives and Information Requirements

Project Status Project Completed


 

Review of cost-benefit analysis and willingness to pay

Project Status Project Completed


 

Setting performance commitments and incentives to deliver best value for money

Project Status Project Completed

At PR14 there have been significant changes in the way in which performance targets are set and incentivised. this has included:
- setting higher-level measures
- increased stakeholder engagement and customer research in setting targets.
- a changing role for cost-benefit analysis.
- greater use of rewards and penalties.

There were considerable variations in approach by companies to setting targets and incentives, and demonstrating value for money.

 

The future approach to price setting in the wholesale value chain

Project Status Project Completed


 

Valuing water

Project Status Project Completed


 

Water Company benchmarking

Project Status Project Completed


 

Wholesale and Household Retail Charging Principles

Project Status Project Completed


 

Wholesale and retail charges

Project Status Project Completed


 

Evaluating abstraction reform proposals

Project Status Project Completed


 

Evaluating Abstraction Reform Proposals Phase 2 Testing the Principles

Project Status Project Completed


 

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive Revision and the new Industrial Emissions Directive - what are the implications to the Water Industry?

Project Status Project Completed


 

Long term least costs planning for wastewater supply demand

Project Status Project Completed


 

Indicators of water innovation: information tool

Project Status Project Completed


 

Research and Innovation in the UK Water Industry

Project Status Project Completed


 

Research and Innovation Mapping Study for the UK Water Research and Innovation Framework

Project Status Project Completed


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