A group from British Water has made a presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group, Sewers and Sewerage at the Houses of Parliament about sustainable drainage.
The presentation, which included evidence from the Sustainable Drainage Focus Group's Global Watch Mission to the USA, was given by David Schofield of Arup, who is a member of the Focus Group.
British Water represents the interests of the UK supply chain to the water and wastewater industry including monitoring UK and European legislation and regulation. It also aims to improve standards in the industry.
The meeting was chaired by MP Paddy Tipping and included a presentation by DEFRA's Water Supply and Regulation Director, Richard Wood, about the proposed changes in sewerage management. The group were told that there were plans to improve surface water drainage that would be announced later this year and also that there was a strategy to reduce personal water consumption by up to 30 litres a day by 2030.
Richard Wood stressed that the Government were committed to developing proposals for better management of surface water and that as a country we need to value water more and use it more efficiently.
The presentation by British Water included information from the Sustainable Drainage Focus Group's Global Watch Mission to the USA where the delegates spent 13 days travelling 10,000 miles finding out about innovative ways to deal with surface water and flooding.
David Schofield explained that one of the lessons learned from the USA is that there are considerable benefits to be gained from providing greater incentives for the use of innovative stormwater management techniques. Communities, local authorities and individuals in the US all become involved in the process and their responsible attitude becomes a matter of pride as neighbours vie with each other to show the most support.
He stressed that we can no longer talk about flood prevention, only flood management and added that we are causing problems for ourselves by increasing Britain's impermeable footprint with uncontrolled development including the paving of front gardens.
He urged the all party group to empower the general public to help them combat problems of flooding on their own doorsteps by encouraging actions such as disconnecting downpipes and building turfed roofs.