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This project has now finished. If you wish to find out more about the project, please contact David Butler:

Email -

Tel - +44(0)1392 723600

Address - Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter EX4 4QF, UK

Safe & SuRe: A new paradigm for urban water management

What is Safe & SuRe?

Safe & SuRe is a EPSRC funded fellowship that aims to develop sustainable and resilient solutions for urban water management at a time of global uncertainty. Researchers are developing new paradigms so that existing urban water systems can be better used, managed, regulated, planned, operated, rehabilitated, retrofitted and redesigned to cope with global uncertainties. The researchers are collaborating with a range of practitioners and policymakers including the Environment Agency, Water Industry Forum, Northumbrian Water, and the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network, to ensure that they meet the needs of stakeholders.

Why is resilience important in the water sector?

In the UK, the Water Act 2014 places a duty on the water and wastewater sectors to “further the resilience objective”. It highlights a need for long-term planning of water, wastewater and service provisions under increasing global threats. Last year Ofwat released the ‘Resilience in the Round’ document (Ofwat, 2017) which stresses that resilience needs to be assessed holistically and go beyond the more traditional operational views of resilience to include financial, corporate and related natural environment, social systems, economy and other wider factors.   

Applying Safe & SuRe research to the water sector

The Safe & SuRe team have invested in a wide range of impact activities to engage research findings to assist in creating a resilient and sustainable urban water sector, working with major water providers in the UK conducting workshops and talks. One example of a successful working relationship has been with Scottish Water. Roi Otero (Resilience and Regional Strategy Team Leader) said “It has been very worthwhile to learn about the findings from the Safe&SuRe fellowship, and to explore ways the framework can assist us with some of our water management challenges in a holistic manner” 

The multidisciplinary research team have worked on the following topic areas:

  • Sewerage, drainage & flood resilience
  • Wastewater treatment resilience & sustainability
  • Water supply & distribution resilience
  • Support Decision Tools: Global Resilience Analysis software add-on, screening methods, flexible design
  • Intervention technologies: SUDs, multi-purpose rainwater harvesting
  • Household perceptions and intentions towards coping with drought and flood events
  • Emergency planning for flood and drought in the water Sector
  • Organisational resilience within the water sector

Meet the Safe & SuRe team