Neil Edwards, Environment & Chemistry Technical Support, RWE Generation UK

Informing the power sector

“There is much to be done and having access to the existing About Drought materials can only better inform the deliberations.”

Neil Edwards, Environment & Chemistry Technical Support, RWE Generation UK

Neil Edwards has represented RWE Generation UK in stakeholder discussions with MaRIUS and DRY, as well as attending conferences and workshops. He believes those connections have enabled About Drought’s outputs to be of greater benefit to the power sector, including building better resilience of services that rely on water-dependent infrastructure. 

He says: “The next few years could be important in how the UK positions itself to deliver resilience of services – such as public water supply, power and food – in a period in which we are going to be economically and institutionally challenged. There is much to be done and having access to the existing About Drought materials can only better inform the deliberations. 

New contacts improved understanding

“I’ve developed useful contacts through networking at the major events and workshops with practitioners that I didn’t have before. The networking and events together, gave me opportunities to contribute to improving the wider understanding of the interaction between power plants and the aquatic environment, which is sometimes not well-represented in academic literature. 

Boost for power sector

“I believe this to be of value to RWE and to the wider power sector. It led to some power sector-focused work being done within the research programme, which has given power sector players a better information base to think through some aspects of water quality in drought and hence, contribute to developing better understanding of resilience issues. 

“I also hope that the forecasting initiative with CEH will lead to improved river flow and seasonal weather forecasting information for relevant power sector locations, which will aid better risk management of commercial positions in low flow events; though this has not advanced as fast as I would have liked.”  

Neil has also been able to draw on access to communications resources. He says: “I have used the softer communications / story telling materials to get an understanding of wider social considerations surrounding major drought events as background in participation in freshwater-related stakeholder activity, such as interaction with DEFRA/EA on water resource management and regional water planning.”

Risk and scenario building

Collaboration with MaRIUS supported RWE’s work on risk to power generation and scenario building. Neil says: “We have used the tailored water quality modelling work to better understand potential risk – this is now factored into our thinking and into our interaction with DEFRA/EA on aspects of resilience. We are aware of the grid-to-grid river flow work and climate change-related work, and we would access it if we felt the need.”

Interview by Sally Stevens

Posted October 2019

Experiences and Stories

Story gathering and storytelling have been strong threads through the programme, stitching together humanities and science within and across work streams. These collaborations have been so successful that they have changed permanently the approach of some of our scientists and resulted in successful spin-off collaborations.

As well as welcoming ENDOWS researchers into their communities, embracing catchment Local Action Groups (LAGs), monitoring water scarcity and collecting data samples, some of these collaborators have been enthusiastic attendees of our About Drought Showcase conference in Birmingham and our Drought & Water Scarcity Conference in Oxford in March 2019, as well as project events such as the final DRY Project Conference in July 2019.

DRY Project in particular nurtured a high level of community engagement ranging from community performances to the production of the song, ‘A River Is A Snake’ by folk singer and songwriter Sharron Kraus.

These experiences and stories have been captured in cartoons, videos and blogs on the DRY website.

DRY (Drought Risk & You) Final Conference July 3rd

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Location: UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre, Filton Rd, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS34 8QZ

Register: Click here

Interdisciplinary explorations in ‘DRY Thinking’ – bringing together stories and science for better decision-making in UK Drought Risk Management

Come and join the ongoing conversation at the final event for DRY (Drought Risk & You) part of About Drought, the UK’s £12m drought and water scarcity research programme.

Drought in the UK is a pervasive, creeping and hidden risk.  How can ‘the hidden’ be revealed and how can science and stories work together, in this process, to support better decision-making in UK drought risk management?

This conference is the next stage in an ongoing dialogue, not only between different disciplines, but also but between researchers and stakeholders.

Over the past five years, DRY has worked with diverse sectors in seven catchments in England, Scotland and Wales – co-researching droughts past and scenario-ing droughts future, with strong attention to thinking about adaptive solutions and behaviours. DRY has explored how science and narrative can be brought together, in different ways and on different scales, to support statutory and non-statutory decision-making of a wide range of stakeholders, the general public and communities.

Core to this research has been a series of ‘creative experiments’, exploring how science can be used as a stimulus for stories and stories as a stimulus for science.  This has included creative scenario-ing of possible drought futures and explorations in how drought might be visualised using science interweaved with storying.

DRY’s interdisciplinary team has involved drought risk scientists (hydrologists, ecologists, agronomists) working with hazard geographers, social science researchers in health and business, along with those working in media and memory, and applied storytelling.

This conference shares themes researched within the DRY project, including how we might:

  • Rethink ‘drought data’ – its hybridity and variations in scale
  • Explore drought values and perceptions that influence behaviours
  • Scenario future drought working with science and narrative
  • Exploring drought cultures within the UK
  • Develop ‘DRY Thinking’ as a process – Drought Risk and You

The conference will be accompanied by the DRY Exhibition, showcasing resources generated by the DRY process, including the DRY Story Bank, the DRY Utility and DRY Action Learning Resources (e.g. around UK Drought Myths in engagement).

Organised by Professor Lindsey McEwen (UWE, Bristol), Emma Weitkamp (UWE, Bristol), Joanne Garde-Hansen (University of Warwick), Antonia Liguori (Loughborough University), Mike Wilson (Loughborough University) and the DRY consortium

For any further information, please email: DRY@uwe.ac.uk

DRY Weather and an allotment – what would you do on the allotment with less water?

Wed 23 May 2018, 10:00 – 16:00
Location: UWE Frenchay, BS16 1QY
Event organiser: UWE
Event type: Public workshop
Booking: Register online

The workshop will be hosted by the NERC DRY (Drought Risk and You) project, the National Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Association (NSALG) and About Drought (knowledge exchange about drought).

Background: In the DRY project, we are keen to work with different groups who may be able to give early warning of dry conditions in their communities and who are already aware of when there is a lack of rain and when the soils are dry. Allotment holders are one such group. We are also interested in different ways of using water in growing food (e.g. across cultures) and the seasonal demands that different crops have for water.

Aims and outcomes:

At this workshop, we will:

  • share story and videos developed with allotment holders and Allan Cavell, NSALG in the DRY (Drought Risk and You) project.
  • ask ‘What if’ for different drought risk futures under different climate projections in the Bristol Frome catchment. We will share some of the new science on forecasting and prediction in easily accessible ways so we can think about what the implications might be for growing on allotments.
  • explore together what we might do on an allotment with less water. What options are available?
  • seek your advice about what sorts of resources would be useful as outcomes from the UK Drought and Water Scarcity research. What would be useful to allotment holders? (e.g. seasonal water advice; drought resistant planting).

The day will be interactive and we will have a cartoonist working with us to capture our discussions.

Who will this workshop interest? Allotment groups who have worked with the DRY project, other ‘growing’/ ‘food’ groups, those interested in community adaptation to water risk and climate change, those involved in plant growing/horticulture in different ways, those involved in teaching, and others…

FAQs

There is no cost for the workshop but we ask you to register by clicking this link by 18th May 2018. A buffet lunch will be provided so, if you have specific dietary requirements, please email dry@uwe.ac.uk.

For information on how to get to UWE Bristol please visit http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/about/visitus/howtofindus.aspx

If you are coming by car you will need a parking space to be booked for you. Please email dry@uwe.ac.uk with your car registration details.

For more information on the DRY projecthttp://dryproject.co.uk; NSALG www.nsalg.org.uk; and About Drought https://aboutdrought.info/

Meet the Researchers: Drought Risk and You

Mon 30 April 2018, 10:00 – 12:30
Location: UWE Frenchay, BS16 1QY
Event organiser: UWE
Event type: Public open day
Booking: Register online

Join University of the West of England for a field trip with the researchers to discover the real-life effects of drought on our local grasslands, as part of Bristol Festival of Nature’s City Nature Challenge.

DRY project field site at UWE, copyright UWE
DRY project field site at UWE, copyright UWE

The Drought Risk and You project integrates physical science with social science and narrative to produce a decision making tool to help individuals and policy makers plan their response to drought.

Drought is a natural part of the UK climate but is predicted to become more frequent and severe in the future. Grasslands are by area the most important agricultural crop in the UK, and an essential feature of most parks and gardens.

You will learn about the experiments being done by UWE’s researchers as they look at the effects of drought on plants and pollinators, learn about the types of measurement they make and why, and see some of the preliminary results. You can also help the team by making your own survey transect across the field and submit your findings to Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre.

Booking essential, details of where to meet and parking available on application.For more information please contact: dry@uwe.ac.uk

Please note: we will be meeting on UWE’s Frenchay campus and walking down to the research site through a rough woodland track. The track and fieldsite are not accessible for wheelchairs or pushchairs. Please dress appropriately for working outdoors.This event is suitable for adults and older children (10+).

Thinking Sustainability H2O: a workshop promoting water management and resilience for small businesses

Friday 14th December, 2018
Location: Jurys Inn Cheltenham, GL51 0TS
Event organisers: Co-organised by the Centre for Water, Communities and Resilience, and Science Communication Unit, UWE Bristol with the Federation of Small Businesses
Event type: Workshop
Booking: Register online

The focus of this workshop will be the co-development of a business toolkit for increased water resilience. It will exchange knowledge from the UK About Drought project (aboutdrought.com) about ways that small and medium sized businesses can become more ‘water resilient’.

This workshop will be of particular interest to those running small and medium sized businesses that use water in any way in their business processes, and are exposed to different types of water risk.

Participants will explore the ways in which water (from flood to drought) could affect their business, including opportunities for innovation. Sharing draft resources prepared by the About Drought team, we will discuss the design of a toolkit designed to help businesses think through their water resilience. This will include reflecting on the messages and messengers that businesses engage with and trust, along with the merits of incorporating water resilient thinking into wider Business Sustainability Management.

• Water resource management (reduce, reuse, recycle)
• Resilience and management of situations for flooding and drought risk
• Contingency planning and risk management

In addition there may be opportunities to discuss:
• Regulatory compliance
• Resource efficiency and circular economy
• Integration with environmental management systems (ISO14001); CSR programmes (corporate social responsibility); and programmes for organisational change and innovation

Participants will be invited to contribute to the co-development of a water resilience toolkit of resources for small businesses that will form part of guidance to be rolled out nationally. All contributors’ contributions will be acknowledged.

If you have any queries about this event please contact Ruth Vargo or Laura Chilver at dry@uwe.ac.uk