The Reporter
Issue 493, 27 October 2003
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Waving their magic WaND to keep the water running


Phil Rees and Adrian McDonaldThe Government has plans for four million new homes but water supply in the UK is already stretched. Geography researchers are working out the increased water demand and how it can be met. For the first time, they will be able to ignore current legislation and consider any option to meet the increased demand.

Research wizards – Phil Rees and Adrian McDonald

Population work by Professor Phil Rees will feed models to calculate how much drinking water homeowners will need, taking into account trends such as increasing numbers of people living alone. The supply for areas from the size of council wards to whole water company networks will be calculated over periods of 12 months to 30 years.

Lead researcher Professor Adrian McDonald said: “It's the first time research has linked water supply with waste and drainage water management on a large scale. For example, toilets could be flushed using water already used for showers or washing. We are looking at how using these innovations interact in engineering, economic, health and legislative terms. It’s an enormous challenge – even one million new homes would be a lot in terms of water demand. It's about making urban areas more self-sufficient and leaving a smaller environmental footprint.”

The finished models will be part of a toolkit accessible online for planners, water companies and other academics.

The water and new development (WaND) project is part of a £22.5m EPSRC research programme designing and building safer, ‘greener’ communities, led by Professor McDonald and David Butler at Imperial College.


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