The Only Constant is Change – the Water Cycle

There has a move back towards catchment based working for a number of years, and this has brought many advantages, especially in regard to environmental improvements. Generally however such working tends to be sector and company based. Although there have been a few cross sector studies and solutions, these are the exception rather than the rule.

There are a number of disruptive factors, such as the European Water Framework Directive, that are increasingly moving organisations towards multi sector and company integrated catchment solutions. There are already many studies that are pin-pointing pollution, both point source and diffuse, and moving solutions towards beneficial outcomes and away from ‘tick box’ outputs. There are similar studies looking at drought risk. However there are very few examples where such studies are joined, let alone linked to other water related impacts, such as flooding and agricultural production.

As new tools, especially the ability to collate and use large and disparate data sources, and the rise of AI, become increasingly available and affordable, such catchment whole water cycle working will increase, and provide real benefit across sectors. To enable this however will not only require new technology, but more importantly changes in working practice. For example, sharing of data between organisations will be critical. Individuals will need to understand more about the issues and potential solutions for others affected by the water cycle in an area. Whilst the technical challenges are complex, the organisational and people aspects present even bigger challenges. We must however overcome such issues if we are to deliver truly holistic and sustainable solutions.

Author Details

Michael Robert Jones

Mike has 40 years of total experience in the utilities sector with 25 years in consulting. He has diverse experience of executing strategy, outline design and processes for water and electricity clients covering asset management, effective customer experience, and field deployment. In the IT utilities space, Mike has worked on diverse projects, such as IT portfolio planning (rate case, etc.), water sample lifecycle management with ML, new GIS and Flexibility, IVR systems, and production planning. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Chartered Environmentalist. He is currently working on IT portfolios, thought leadership in the utilities sector, conference presentations, and client relationships. Mike is also involved in making business strategy, process, and change advice to the utilities clients. He will blog on the utility sector – especially the adaptive asset management using AI, electricity Flexibility Markets, integrated water management, business change, system and process change, regulation, etc.

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