sea level rise

A new report reveals how the region’s water and sewage networks are being made safe and secure in the face of climate change.

The Climate Change Adaptation Report 2015 has been published by Anglian Water as world leaders meet in Paris for talks to tackle carbon emissions across the globe. Anglian Water Chief Executive Peter Simpson was part of a Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group event in Paris on Monday calling on world leaders to end subsidies for fossil fuels. [Read his account here]

Scientists predict climate change will increase sea level rise and make weather patterns more extreme and unpredictable, increasing the risk of droughts and floods. Work is ongoing in East Anglia to ensure water supplies and the sewage network are resilient and secure enough to cope with these changes.

The last five years have seen a number of extreme weather events including a storm surge on the east coast in December 2013. This was brought about by an intense storm and an exceptionally high tide. It caused widespread damage to homes and businesses and resulted in 38 water recycling sites being taken out of action. This event alone caused Anglian Water to spend more than half a million pounds bringing the sites back on line.

The report has been submitted to Defra and has been published online by the Government.

Chris Gerrard, Climate Change and Biodiversity Manager, said: “Climate change is a very real threat to our homes, our countryside and our economy in East Anglia. Our coastline has been hit hard in recent years by storm surges and we have faced flooding and drought as well.

“As the region’s largest water company we need to think ahead to ensure we are prepared for climate change impacts. And all of this has to be looked at in the context of an increasing population and many thousands of new houses being built.

“This report lays out everything we have done in the last five years and what we intend to do over the next five years to meet the challenges and keep our treatment works running. We have made good progress, but it also shows that we still have a lot more to do to ensure that our customers get the services that they deserve. Detailed plans are in place and along with our partners we are working very hard to get it done.”

Examples of adaptation measures covered in the report include,

• Ensuring 160,000 customers who rely on a single supply source for water are connected to other sources to ensure they are protected in case of a supply shut down. Another 620,000 customers will benefit from similar projects over the next five years
• £63m spent on drought resilience including securing new ground water sources, reducing leaks by installing smart pressure valves into water pipes and increased investment in detecting underground leaks
• Installing additional transfer pipes between reservoirs and treatment works to ensure we can move raw water to where it is needed
• Investing in flood protection at 20 water treatment sites, with 36 water treatment and water recycling sites scheduled for similar projects over the next five years
• Contributing funding to partnership schemes to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses, such as £3m given to Tendring District Council to help pay for coastal flood defences in Clacton
• Carrying out improvement work on our sewerage system to take hundreds of homes off the flood risk register
• Engaging in industry-wide research to look at the scale of the risk to water supplies and infrastructure from climate change
• Development and use of a model with Aalborg University in Denmark that helps us understand the impact that increased temperatures will have on corrosion in our sewers and odour escapes caused by sewer gas.
Chris continued: “As well as adapting to climate change – we are also playing our part in reducing our own carbon emissions.

“We have installed plants to produce electricity from biogas that we produce at our water recycling centres, we’re reducing the emissions released when we create any new infrastructure and we are making big efforts to drive down energy use and encourage our customers to use less water.”

You can download the full report at