Water Management Planning Guidance for Construction Projects

 

Introduction

These webpages offer guidance on improving the efficiency of water use on construction sites through better planning and management of water and to encourage consideration of environmental risks associated with construction activities.


A Water Management Plan template is also provided here which will guide users through its completion with reference to extensive practical examples and links to resources which enable straightforward application of the guidance to a specific project.


Users can also navigate to sections of most interest via the honeycomb contents page on the right. Clicking on the diagram expands the navigation menu, and selecting a hexagon will take you to the information. To return to this page at any time click the "home" honeycomb picture.



Report Navigation: Use the framework diagram to access each section of the report.


 

It is a misconception that the UK has an abundance of water.

FACT: Already parts of UK have less rainfall per person than many Mediterranean countries
FACT: Increasing demand has resulted in higher costs, both within our homes and on site, as we fund new sources of supply. South West Water increased their charges by 34% between 1993 & 2003 and by 58% between 2003 and 2013 rising from £0.57/m3 to £2.04/m3 in 20 years
FACT: Water resources are under pressure and current levels of water abstraction are unsustainable in places
  Source: 'Water for Life', the Government White Paper on Water, Dec 2011

Technology is available, but this alone will not result in a sustainable, water efficient construction site – it is staff on-site who operate machinery and control water outlets that have the power to reduce water consumption.

Figure 1 shows the water stress map of the UK, indicating which areas are under water stress, which is a combination of water demand (linked to population and industrial use) and water availability.

In the coming years, the combined effects of climate change and an increasing population will put further pressure on our rivers, lakes and aquifers.

We need to act now to manage our demand for water and to ensure the security of our water supplies.

 

It is not just water availability and water stress which is an issue for construction sites; as shown below in Figure 2, the costs of water have increased significantly over the last 10 years.

The graph shows typical costs from South West Water, however the costs vary depending on the Water Supply Company, and these figures are just for water supplied to site. Disposing of water to sewer or tankering water away can often be a lot more expensive than just the supply of water.

The purpose of the guidance provided is to improve the efficiency of water use on construction sites through better planning and management of water and to encourage consideration of environmental risks associated with construction activities.

The document is designed to support all disciplines across the construction industry, and provide standalone guidance to help with a particular water issue and/or to guide users to complete the Water Management Plan template.

Environmental regulators within different parts of the UK have been collectively termed ‘national environmental regulators’ throughout this document and specific guidance can be found on their websites. The four national regulators coordinated by Defra and are:

Extensive practical examples and links to resources are provided within this document which enables straightforward application of this guidance to a specific project.