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Water supply systems assessment

Lookup NU author(s): Matt Ives, Professor Jim Hall, Professor Chris Kilsby


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© Cambridge University Press 2016. Introduction: Improved drinking water supplies now reach 89% of the world's population, an increase of 2.3 billion people since 1990. In the developed world drinking water provision is effectively universal (World Health Organisation and UNICEF, 2014). However, maintaining this level of supply in the context of increasing demand, deteriorating infrastructure and a changing climate will require sustained investment. Natural systems that provide water supplies can be augmented through engineered infrastructure, in order to cope with heterogeneity of availability in space and time. The current global challenge is to manage the resulting trade-offs between requirements of the users of water and sustainability of the natural environment. Water infrastructure can be separated into raw water, treated water and wastewater systems. Raw water infrastructure abstracts, transports and stores water prior to treatment. Usually, raw water is acquired from a lake or reservoir, directly from a river or from groundwater. The treated water system begins at the treatment works and distributes water in pipes from the treatment works to the various users of water, via local treated water storage units. The system for collection, treatment and discharge of wastewater is dealt with in Chapter 7. As with any infrastructure, water supply infrastructure deteriorates over time, so resources are required to maintain systems. Climate change is anticipated to influence extreme and average temperatures and precipitation, with consequent impacts on the patterns of water availability across the country. With rising population there is increasing awareness of the impact of abstraction on the natural environment (Acreman, 2001) and pressure to address projected water supply challenges through the most efficient and sustainable solutions. The challenge for water supply in the twenty-first century lies in the implementation of appropriate solutions that can meet changing requirements without compromising the environment and other users of water, or placing excessive financial burden on citizens. As such, traditional storage and transfer technologies are required in parallel with new ideas for water supply and efficiency of water use. Establishing the appropriate combination of these options is a complex engineering and economic systems problem. With growing pressure on water supplies and major investment decisions ahead, a more strategic national approach is required, which we describe here as part of the system-of-systems methodology presented in Chapter 2.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Simpson M, Ives MC, Hall JW, Kilsby CG

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Future of National Infrastructure: A System-of-Systems Approach

Year: 2016

Pages: 114-133

Online publication date: 01/02/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107588745.007

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781107588745