Morning, Monday, 29th April 2024
This conference will examine key priorities for tackling water pollution in Wales.
It will be a timely opportunity for stakeholders to assess water management in Wales’ rivers and coastlines, and options for minimising the infiltration of harmful pollutants and excess nutrients, following the Welsh Affairs Committee’s Water quality in Wales inquiry, which recommended the replacement of Wales’ ageing combined sewerage system.
Delegates will examine priorities for reversing the trend of failing pollution targets, following Ofwat’s investigation into the performance and subsequent de-ranking of Welsh water companies, with discussion on regulatory priorities, monitoring standards and reporting accuracy, the potential for harsher penalties for serious pollution events, and safeguarding long-term resilience and performance of Welsh water supply.
Discussion will also consider next steps for supporting sustainable housing development while maintaining and improving the ecological status and health of Welsh waterways, following the publication of the Welsh Government’s action plan for Relieving pressures on Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) river catchments to support delivery of affordable housing.
Further sessions will assess priorities from both an ecological and economic perspective for utilising Wales’ water resources and improving water quality.
We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Mike Keil, Chief Executive, Consumer Council for Water; and Tony Harrington, Director of Environment, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.
Overall, areas for discussion include:
- Government strategy: assessing Wales’ plan for water - implications for stakeholders - options for reducing nutrient concentrations - meeting regulation targets
- Impact of pollution: understanding the causes of pollution and pressures on the water environment - implications of contaminated water on housing, health, the environment, businesses and communities
- Development: addressing current planning constraints and supporting sustainable development - impact of UK government measures to relax homebuilding water pollution regulation on Wales
- Investment: securing investment in infrastructure to make Welsh rivers as resilient as possible to the changing climate and extreme weather conditions
- Infrastructure: improving efficiency of drainage and sewage infrastructure - storm overflow mechanisms - technology and implementation costs - approaches to driving investment
- Water regulation: safeguarding long-term resilience and performance of Welsh water - preventing a resurgence in sewage discharge incidents - implementing mitigation measures - ensuring security of public water supply
- Industry engagement:
- the role of the water industry in reducing pollution and increasing resilience and efficiency
- improving sewage management, infrastructure and wastewater services
- engaging wider stakeholders and collaborating with agriculture and businesses to reduce runoffs and industrial waste discharge
- Nutrient management plan: delivering a strategy to reduce levels of phosphorus and excess nutrients in Welsh waters - options for establishing a nutrient trading scheme in Wales
- Environmental protection:
- key priorities for protecting the natural aquatic environment, emphasising nature-based solutions, and meeting conservation objectives and water standards
- options for relieving pressures on SAC rivers
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from Defra; Ofwat; IEPAW; Natural Resources Wales; FSA; DAERA, NI; and the Welsh Government.