Water Infrastructure Solutions

Increasing urbanisation, demand for fresh water and climate change all place significant pressures on the water environment. The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) was established in 2000 to reduce these pressures by providing a planning process to manage, protect and improve rivers (including drains and ditches), lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater.

The WFD seeks to improve the ecology of the water environment by creating better quality habitats. This can be achieved by directly restoring habitats, allowing water to flow in a more natural, less regulated way, and controlling the input of sediment and pollutants into the water system.

Plans to address pressures and improve the water environment are embodied in the Programme of Measures outlined within each River Basin Management Plan, which aim to develop solutions through partnerships between regulators, industry, and other key stakeholders.

National guidance and policy has matured since 2000 from creating an understanding of our national water bodies (establishing a baseline), to establishing strategic plans and actions (catchment-based prioritisations), and delivering works on the ground aimed at directly implementing the objectives of the WFD. The WFD inherently focusses thinking toward broad and complex issues surrounding catchmentscale interactions between the water system and its users, including flood risk management, drinking water abstraction, industry and agriculture.

Early investment by regulators and industry has largely focussed upon the ecological components of water bodies where the controlling elements can be easily quantified and managed, including in-channel structures and barriers to fish movement and point sources of pollution. Increasing focus is now being placed on addressing the impacts of physical modifications to surface waters, and the impacts of diffuse pollution from agricultural and industrial sources on surface and ground waters.

Inevitably, the interaction between protecting or enhancing the ecological status of water bodies and future developments that may impact upon these water bodies requires a balance of environmental, policy and engineering solutions to deliver sustainable outcomes.

Royal HaskoningDHV is a specialist water consultancy provider with experience from UK, Dutch and international teams that ensure innovative solutions can be identified and delivered. We have been working alongside the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment to develop WFD guidance and strategic planning documents since 2005. We understand the importance of managing river, coastal and groundwater resources, both in terms of quality and quantity through development and implementation of strategic plans.

Our key services include

  • Guidance on achieving Good Ecological Status or Potential in all surface and groundwater bodies
  • WFD compliance assessments for new plans and schemes
  • Selection and design of effective mitigation measures to prevent deterioration in status
  • Economic appraisal of water body improvements and ecosystem service payments
  • Monitoring and appraisal of hydromorphology, ecology and water quality
  • Advice on water body classification
  • Catchment scale planning and prioritisation Public engagement.

Royal HaskoningDHV is successfully delivering the following for our clients including:

  • Joint Defra / EA Research & Development Programme (UK): Development of the Healthy Catchments online guidance to help flood and coastal erosion risk managers implement the WFD
  • Tagus River Basin Management Plan (Portugal)
  • Technical assistance (Western Balkans)
  • Development of a model to assess costs and ecosystem service benefits of WFD implementation as part of the Long Term Investment Strategy Improvements Project, EA (UK)
  • Aa and Maas Water Board (NL): Identification of hydromorphological impacts and development of mitigation measures
  • Sutton and East Surrey Water (UK): Evaluating the impact of groundwater abstractions on the status of a groundwater and surface water bodies and a Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • Development of a strategic restoration plan and design of hydromorphological improvements for the Rivers Ouse and Adur WFD catchment, EA (UK)
  • De Dommel Water Board (NL): Development of stakeholder engagement plan to gain agreement for key WFD implementation actions, and support during public consultation
  • In-situ contaminated sediments R&D project, DEFRA (UK).