University of Bath

Integrating Water Resources & Asset Management at catchment scale: a life-cycle improvement approach

This project introduces a novel and structured approach for integrating Natural Capital in the asset management portfolio of the water industry.

Water running in a stream in nature.
Responding to regulatory demands for systems-thinking and inclusion of natural capital in the Asset Management Programmes (AMPs), the research introduces a holistic perspective in asset management and expands its scope.

The project introduces a novel and structured approach for integrating Natural Capital (i.e. the natural systems and their deriving ecosystem services) in the asset management portfolio of the water industry. The work demonstrates that a new scale needs to be considered for the implementation of Holistic Asset Management: the water basin or catchment.

Responding to regulatory demands for systems-thinking and inclusion of natural capital in the Asset Management Programmes (AMPs), the research introduces a holistic perspective in asset management and expands its scope. A Catchment Metabolism modelling schema was created, grounded on a transdisciplinary framework and on the principles of Integrated Catchment Management and ecosystems services. The schema was validated through an industrial case study (collaboration with Wessex Water Services Ltd). This process revealed its applicability for the asset management planning and decision-making in the water sector.

Science

The Catchment Metabolism schema is based on the robust synthesis of concepts, tools and methods from a spectrum of disciplines. These include Industrial Ecology, Water Accounting, Environmental Regional Input-Output Analysis, hydrology, software engineering and functional modelling.

Impact

The Catchment Metabolism modelling schema introduces a holistic perspective in asset management and expands its scope. It enables the conceptualisation, modelling and management of catchments as complex asset systems. It, thus, forms the ground for structured collaboration among experts for integrated water resources planning and decision-making. The schema allows for the design and implementation of catchment-based strategies and the assessment of their environmental performance, enabling water companies to formulate strategies, which respond to the challenging regulatory demands.

This was the PhD project of Chrysoula Papacharalampou from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.