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Adapting to climate change: public water supply in England and Wales

Adapting to climate change: public water supply in England and Wales
Adapting to climate change: public water supply in England and Wales
This paper describes an assessment of the ways in which water supply companies in England and Wales are adapting to climate change, evaluated in the context of a model of the adaptation process. The four components of the model are (i) awareness of and concern about the potential impacts of climate change, (ii) adaptation strategy, (iii) the concept of an adaptation space from which options are selected, and (iv) the notion that three groups of factors influence awareness, strategy and option selection: susceptibility to change, internal characteristics of the organisation, and regulatory and market context.
Public water supply in England and Wales is provided by private sector companies, subject to environmental and economic regulation. Hydrological simulations suggest that climate change has the potential to reduce the reliability of supply sources over the next few decades. The industry in December 2004 completed a review of investment requirements over the next five years.
Awareness of climate change is high in the water industry, but by developing assessment procedures and incorporating them into the investment review the regulators forced companies to consider explicitly the potential impacts of climate change in a consistent and rigorous manner. These analyses combined climate change with other pressures on water resources, and in practice companies did not attribute specific investment decisions or proposals to climate change or indeed any other individual drivers. The broad strategy adopted by all water supply companies - to maintain standards of service - is determined by regulatory controls and market considerations, but the degree of concern about the impacts of climate change and precise adaptation options necessary to address supply-demand imbalances varied between water supply companies, reflecting local geographic conditions. The water supply companies and regulators have different perspectives on the relative merits of supply-side and demand-side measures, reflecting different organisational priorities.
The 2004 investment review determined that no specific actions were necessary to deal with future climate change, but that measures set in place - in terms of methodologies and investment in investigations into specific resource developments - provided a sound foundation for more specific actions in the next investment review in five years time. The paper concludes by summarising the factors assisting and constraining adaptation over the next few decades.
0165-0009
225-227
Arnell, N.W.
196119de-cdf5-4ba8-a5d5-5e5cf4c88085
Delaney, E.K.
dd511321-730e-4867-9c39-1558222ca067
Arnell, N.W.
196119de-cdf5-4ba8-a5d5-5e5cf4c88085
Delaney, E.K.
dd511321-730e-4867-9c39-1558222ca067

Arnell, N.W. and Delaney, E.K. (2006) Adapting to climate change: public water supply in England and Wales. Climatic Change, 78 (2-4), 225-227. (doi:10.1007/s10584-006-9067-9).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper describes an assessment of the ways in which water supply companies in England and Wales are adapting to climate change, evaluated in the context of a model of the adaptation process. The four components of the model are (i) awareness of and concern about the potential impacts of climate change, (ii) adaptation strategy, (iii) the concept of an adaptation space from which options are selected, and (iv) the notion that three groups of factors influence awareness, strategy and option selection: susceptibility to change, internal characteristics of the organisation, and regulatory and market context.
Public water supply in England and Wales is provided by private sector companies, subject to environmental and economic regulation. Hydrological simulations suggest that climate change has the potential to reduce the reliability of supply sources over the next few decades. The industry in December 2004 completed a review of investment requirements over the next five years.
Awareness of climate change is high in the water industry, but by developing assessment procedures and incorporating them into the investment review the regulators forced companies to consider explicitly the potential impacts of climate change in a consistent and rigorous manner. These analyses combined climate change with other pressures on water resources, and in practice companies did not attribute specific investment decisions or proposals to climate change or indeed any other individual drivers. The broad strategy adopted by all water supply companies - to maintain standards of service - is determined by regulatory controls and market considerations, but the degree of concern about the impacts of climate change and precise adaptation options necessary to address supply-demand imbalances varied between water supply companies, reflecting local geographic conditions. The water supply companies and regulators have different perspectives on the relative merits of supply-side and demand-side measures, reflecting different organisational priorities.
The 2004 investment review determined that no specific actions were necessary to deal with future climate change, but that measures set in place - in terms of methodologies and investment in investigations into specific resource developments - provided a sound foundation for more specific actions in the next investment review in five years time. The paper concludes by summarising the factors assisting and constraining adaptation over the next few decades.

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Published date: 2006

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 57693
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/57693
ISSN: 0165-0009
PURE UUID: 9bd5ee11-2c78-420d-aa39-7187358b401c

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Date deposited: 11 Aug 2008
Last modified: 28 Nov 2018 17:30

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Contributors

Author: N.W. Arnell
Author: E.K. Delaney

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