The River Water Quality Challenge: Regulation & Expectations, Solutions & Partnerships

Date: 25th January 2022

Location: Online


Time: 10.00am - 12.45pm

This webinar is the first of our series of "Resilient Futures" events and activities, linked to the South West Area Presidency of Mark Worsfold.

River water quality has been repeatedly in the headlines over the past year, and the topic has caught the attention of the public. In January 2021 the Storm Overflows Taskforce – made up of Defra, the Environment Agency, Ofwat, Consumer Council for Water, Blueprint for Water, and Water UK – and sponsored by Rebecca Pow, Minister for Nature Recovery and the Domestic Environment, agreed a long term goal to eliminate harm from storm overflows. There has been campaign work by the Rivers Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, and Feargal Sharkey, amongst others. In September 2021 Water UK, representing the UK water utilities, released its "21st Century Rivers: From Recovery to Renewal" report, and most recently, in November, the Environment Act 2021 came into force. With such a fast moving and emotive topic, we felt that it was an appropriate time to host a balanced discussion on the subject, covering a wide range of viewpoints.

This half day webinar will comprise presentations and panel discussions addressing the challenges that we face in tackling river water quality, considering CSOs, farming run-off, climate change, human behaviour, and population growth. We will discuss perspectives and expectations from the regulator, from landowners, and from the public and NGOs, and then move on to the role of the water utilities, the farming sector, and landowners in providing solutions. We aim to do some myth busting for both public and water stakeholder audiences, and will identify opportunities for partnership in tackling the river water quality challenge, and hence delivering solutions.


·         10:00 Chair’s Introduction- Tom Arnot – Water Innovation & Research Centre, University of Bath

·         10:15 The long view of water quality and regulation, where have we been and where are we going?-  FCIWEM – Deputy Director Water Quality, Groundwater and Land Contamination, Environment Agency

·         10:30 Public perception and the role of NGOs- Director for Partnerships and Communications, The Rivers Trust

·         10:45 A landowner’s perspective

·         Johnny Palmer – Founder, Warleigh Weir Project

·         11:00 Panel Discussion – Regulation & Expectations

·         11:15 Coffee Break

·         11:30 A farmer led approach to catchment management

·         Paul Cottington– Environment Adviser, South West, National Farmers Union

·         11:45 Sustainable solutions to storm overflows: enablers and risks

·         Matt Wheeldon – Director of Asset and Compliance, Wessex Water

·         12:00 Data transparency, reporting and catchment management

·         Mark Worsfold– Director of Asset Management, South West Water

·         12:15 Panel Discussion – Solutions & Partnerships

·         12:45 Close

If you are interested in joining us at the event, please register HERE by selecting the 'Book Now' option on our events page. 

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