New Research Centre To Focus On Water Resilience

A new research group, The Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW), has been set up – based at the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus – to prioritise natural resource management and make sure there is enough water to cope with population growth, as well as climate change.


It will also focus on improving resilience to the effects of drought, flood and emerging pollutants, with Research England just announcing funding for the venture.


The research due to be conducted will concentrate on the issues facing the water and waste sectors, both in the UK and internationally. Issues include how to protect drinking water supplies from pollution, predicting and preventing pollution in the waste water network and protecting water supply networks.


In addition, new research focusing on improving the safe treatment and disposal of wastewater will also be prioritised.


“Building upon our more than ten-year research track-record with South West Water, we will answer a wide range of challenging questions that will help the water industry deliver environmental improvements whilst safeguarding water supply and improving water treatment.


“Transdisciplinary working will therefore be at the heart of the CREWW, drawing together academics from across the University to work alongside, train, learn from and engage directly with water industry professionals, for many years to come,” director of CREWW professor Richard Brazier said.


South West Water (SWW) has a leading role to play in the development and success of the new centre, using pioneering new technology like artificial intelligence and robotics to create more effective water treatment processes, enhance water efficiency and reduce possible impacts on the natural environment.


Director of environment at SWW Ed Mitchell explained that some of the key challenges that the water industry now faces include population growth and climate change, as well as increasing customer expectations, so it’s essential that “new innovative and environmentally sustainable solutions” are found.


Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing the world’s water system, but there are also issues that relation to groundwater depletion that will also need to be addressed. A lot of the fresh water we need comes from aquifers below ground and these are vital for industry, as well as agriculture.


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