The vulnerability of our water supplies to disruption and contamination by potential terrorist or malicious acts is a growing concern for authorities across the country. It’s a terrifying prospect, the thought of our cities’ water supplies being poisoned with a deadly pathogen, but nonetheless, one that is all too real. While this may sound a little on the dramatic side, the fact of the matter is that our water supply is potentially susceptible to acts of bioterrorism.
The UK has one of the most advanced water management systems in the world and we have the Victorians to thank for placing us on such a pedestal.
One hundred and fifty years ago our Victorian ancestors undertook a feat of engineering so spectacular that it was the envy of the world. The vast London sewerage system was unprecedented in scope and scale, and became the blueprint for similarly advanced cities across the globe. And their influence wasn’t confined to the capital. The Victorian era water grid stretches the length and breadth of the UK, incorporating dazzling aqueducts and vast reservoirs, the majority of which is still utilised today.
Water keeps us alive and the earliest civilisations on earth recognised the significance of harnessing the power of water in order to survive and flourish. In fact, some the most successful ancient cities were the ones that discovered ways to provide their citizens with ample clean water, established efficient waste disposal processes, and the irrigation of essential crops.
Disaster: 2007 Hull floods
This summer marks 10 years since more than 9,000 homes and businesses were destroyed after the city of Hull received a sixth of its annual rainfall in just 12 hours. The disaster affected an estimated 35,000 people and caused an estimated £41m worth of damage. More than 6,000 people in Hull were forced into temporary accommodation and many of those spent over a year out of their homes while some 1,400 people had to live in caravans until their homes were repaired.
Over the next five years, up to 600 homes will be built in the King’s Lynn area of West Norfolk. The development – going ahead through a partnership between the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and housing developer Lovell – will deliver new housing and infrastructure upgrades for the community, and has an estimated potential value of almost £80 million.
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From cities of sponge to the Dead Sea, we shine a light on some of the world’s most ambitious, innovative and awe inspiring water management projects.
China’s sponge cities
China has a major problem with urban flooding, so much so that in December 2013 President Xi Jiping announced a national plan to significantly upgrade the country’s urban drainage infrastructure, with the implementation of a series of ‘sponge cities’.
Initially 16 cities were selected as pilots for China’s “sponge cities” programme, and eventually it will be rolled out nationally. But what is a sponge city? Well, essentially it’s all about SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems), a relatively well known concept in Europe but one that is somewhat new to China, whose chaotic urban planning and vast population means that little thought has been given to water management solutions.
Achieving the Carbon Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (CEMARS) Gold Standard is a prestigious eco-accolade; one we’re pleased and proud to announce Asset International had just been awarded.
We’ve long been committed to managing and reducing emissions, and have received third party certification from CEMARS for the past six years. The steps we have taken to now achieve the Gold Standard accreditation include adhering to specific requirements for the design, development, and management of our greenhouse gas emissions.
CEMARS, which is aligned with the internationally recognised Greenhouse Gas Protocol, allows large organisations or large emitting industries to measure their greenhouse gas emissions, to put in place plans to reduce them, and have these steps independently certified.
Donald Trump’s planned infrastructure projects are said to run to $1 trillion as he plans to build, build, build to revive the country’s flagging road and rail network and revive the US economy. So should Britain be following his lead? And do we have the manpower and skills to embark on such a mission?
A few months ago US President Donald Trump vowed to push a $1 trillion infrastructure bill through Congress, in a drive that would make good on a key campaign pledge.
Speaking back in February he said: “To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States — financed through both public and private capital – creating millions of new jobs,” noting that his infrastructure campaign will be guided by his “Buy American and Hire American” principles.
… Well if you’re the UK Government it’s all about infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.
In December 2016 the government published details of its £500 billion-plus infrastructure investment pipeline, which outlines the UKs major ‘shovel ready’ projects, including the Thames Tideway Tunnel, HS2, Crossrail, the rollout of smart meters, a multitude of flood defences and hundreds of other schemes.
The money comes from a mix of private and public investment, with more than 40% being delivered by the government.