United Utilities has announced that it will be leading an £8.9 million (€10.2 million) national programme to bring more nature-based solutions into the water sector.
The North West’s water company, working with The Rivers Trust, Jacobs, and Mott MacDonald, and partners from across the water industry and other sectors, has been awarded the money in the latest round of industry regulator Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge. A further £900,000 (€1 million) will be provided by partners.
The five-year programme aims to put a wide range of nature-based solutions such as wetlands, Sustainable Drainage Systems and peatland restoration to the test, to demonstrate how they can be used to make the water environment more resilient to climate change and other pressures.
The findings will be shared across the industry, potentially helping to fast-track the introduction of nature-based solutions and improve water and wastewater treatment across the nation.
Kieran Brocklebank, head of innovation at United Utilities, said: “We understand and share the concerns that our customers have about wastewater treatment and the quality of rivers and streams, and this programme will enable us to explore more ways to tackle the challenges we face.
“Natural solutions such as wetlands and peatland restoration have wide-reaching benefits, not only to improve water quality but also in slowing the flow of rainwater to help prevent flooding and providing important habitats for wildlife.
“We’re delighted to be leading this national research and development programme and look forward to sharing our findings with the industry to help improve water quality right across the country.”
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