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


 

Asset Health Indicators - Forward Looking Metrics

Project Status Expressions of Interest

Ofwat in the Initial Asset of Plans (IAP) for PR19 have set a common action for the sector:

'The company should also provide a commitment to work with the sector to develop a robust forward looking asset health metrics and provide greater transparency of how its asset health indicators influence its operational decision making'.

Ofwat's recent horizontal audit of common measures demonstrated that even for long standing measures different companies approach their capture and collations of data differently, leading to inconsistencies.

This projects seeks to address both these issues.



 

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 submitted as Complete

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


 

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


 

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


 

When is ‘surface water removal’ the most cost beneficial solution?

Project Status Project Commenced

Removing surface water from foul or combined sewers offers a number of benefits, both in terms of reducing operational expenditure and flows (and subsequent flooding and spill frequency), as well as offering wider community benefits.

There is an increasing appetite across the water industry to consider and deliver such interventions to help manage a range of drivers, but this appetite is not matched by an in depth understanding of the scenarios and catchment characteristics that make surface water removal options more cost beneficial than traditional engineering solutions.



 

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


 

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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