THE UK WATER SECTOR

Positioning the UK
water industry for
long term success

> Download the report now

Water

Print Bookmark

Water is an increasingly important but unevenly distributed resource globally. Atkins supports the water, wastewater and water-related environmental sectors with services from water strategy planning and flood management to infrastructure design and maintenance.

About

Water supply and quality is constantly challenged by growing populations, climate change, pollution and changing lifestyles - it’s a complex industry which requires the right skills and the right people to ensure that water services are fit for today and tomorrow.

Driven by the need to help clients deliver greater value for their customers, we’re constantly pushing research and innovation boundaries with a comprehensive range of services from water strategy planning to infrastructure design and maintenance.

In the water industry, there’s no such thing as an off-the-peg project, that’s why we value close working relationships built around the right people. We work side-by-side with our clients to ensure that their water services are fit for today as well as tomorrow, and together, we challenge existing methods and develop new solutions, whether that be the introduction of new assets or extracting more value from existing ones.

We have more than 650 professionals committed to the water market around the world.

FEATURES

Expertise

Atkins is a major player in the water market, supporting the water, wastewater and water-related environmental sectors with consistently exceptional services.

Our areas of expertise include:

Water utility infrastructure

We provide advice and deliver engineering solutions from planning, feasibility, design and procurement to construction supervision to optimise water and wastewater networks. Supported by the latest analytical and modelling packages and computer aided design, we help our clients define problems and prioritise investment programmes.

Flood management

We reduce the impact of flooding whether from rivers, the sea, urban drainage, flood defence failure or groundwater. Not only do we design and implement flood alleviation schemes, we also develop strategies to guide sustainable management of flood risk in catchments and urban areas.

We build forecasting systems to provide advanced warning of significant flood events and develop emergency plans, so that when flood events do occur, the stakeholders affected will have procedures in place to manage such incidents safely.

For more information you can read our:
flood emergency planning leaflet,
developer flood risk assessment leaflet,
critical infrastructure and flooding leaflet.

Dams and reservoirs

Our team can inspect, design and construct all types of dams and reservoirs. We help to address client concerns relating to safety, stability, flooding and seismic activity by conducting assessments and developing integrated solutions to reduce such risks.

Regulatory compliance and research

We provide a detailed understanding and assessment of environmental regulation and policy to help determine what impact the drivers will bring. We have delivered financial savings and reduced the carbon emission impact of regulation and policy by working collaboratively with regulators and regulated stakeholders.

River management

We have a deep understanding of rivers from rehabilitation and design of waterway structures to navigation, hydropower development, water supply and recreational purposes. We are skilled in the development of an integrated approach to the planning, management and control of rivers, waterways and river environments to ensure their sustainable use and protection.

For more information you can read our managing rivers brochure.

Surface water and drainage

We have the skills required to develop effective surface water management plans and contribute to water cycle studies, which draw on our extensive experience in surface water drainage, flood risk, sustainable drainage systems (SUDS), water quality, GIS database development and engineering design.

For more information, please read our surface water management brochure.

Aquatic ecology

Freshwater ecology is the study of the relationships and interactions between organisms within their environment. In the aquatic ecology business our main areas of concern are with flowing water in watercourses of all sizes (small streams through to main rivers), standing waters (from small ponds to large lakes) and wetlands (bog, fen, mire and wet grassland systems).

For more information, please read our freshwater ecology brochure.

Hygiene and sanitation

We work within developing countries around the world to improve sanitation and health conditions in both the rural and urban environment. Our specialists provide integrated and innovative technical and management solutions to enhance water safety, improve sanitation and change hygiene behaviour.

For more information, please read our water sanitation and health flyer.

Angles

View all

Jeremy Jones
05 Dec 2016

Our weather conditions are showing no signs of changing. Rainfall has increased across all regions of the UK over the last 50 years – winters are wetter and even with drier summers, rainfall is becoming concentrated into more intensive downpours (up 5% in the last 20 years). Traditional methods of removing rainwater – i.e. removing it as quickly as possible from our roads and pavements through the network and out to sea – are not always fit for purpose during periods of severe rainfall. Climate change, urban creep and new developments have together meant that the infrastructure is no longer adequate. So after each period of heavy rain as technical experts we continue to bang the drum that more preventative action should be taken instead of last minute urgent care.  Attention then has to turn to Storm Water Management (SWM) and sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS). SuDS mimic natural processes enabling natural drainage around buildings and other developments which work by slowly draining, or sometimes holding in surplus water caused by rain and surface water. We are now seeing SuDS not only employed in new developments but also as a retrofit opportunity for water companies, with many water companies now grasping the opportunity and developing processes, governance procedures and implementing new measures for SWM. At Atkins we are advisors to the majority of UK water companies. In addition to assisting them with new ways of working for SWM, we have created the SuDS Studio toolkit which is a unique geospatial tool that

UK & Europe ,

David Loy
07 Nov 2016

Tidal wetlands are the coastal vegetation communities that exist within the intertidal zone. In Tampa Bay, these emergent tidal wetlands consist of mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt barrens (salterns) that compete for space in a narrow range of ideal conditions with calm water, low salinity, and flat topography. These emergent tidal wetlands form an important and complex habitat. Not only do they stabilize sediment and help to minimize shoreline erosion, they help take-in pollutants carried in runoff from upland urban areas. These wetlands also provide crucial habitat and provide a food source for much of the bay’s wildlife and provide attachment sites for algae and invertebrate communities, providing a habitat below the water surface for hundreds of recreational and commercially important species of fish, shrimp, crabs, and other shellfish. This includes pink shrimp, menhaden, blue crabs, mullet, red drum, tarpon, and snook. The marsh grasses and mangrove forests above water provide critical feeding, nesting, and sheltering habitat for a variety of birds such as pelicans, cormorants, herons, ibises, spoonbills, and egrets.  To effectively manage the sustainability of these critical coastal habitats in the future, it’s essential that we better understand and quantify the small-scale changes in the plant community and other ecological indicators occurring now, including global sea-level rise and climate change. By studying these changes, we may be able to better characterize and quantify changes in these sensitive coastal habitats on a regional scale. Atkins has worked closely with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) and it’s subcommittee members to

North America ,

Adam Cambridge
06 Oct 2016

The water and environment sector is transforming, largely, in my view, due to the role that digital services are increasingly playing in our day to day life. The increased use of digital services is profoundly influencing society daily, so it’s little wonder that it’s now also affecting the water industry, which is a powerful journey to be starting.  The power of digital services is best visualised if you think back to the Arab Spring revolutions where governments were toppled for transformation - essentially through the use of online social media galvanising societal views. This showed that digital services can be the platform for citizens to make more informed and collective decisions for governance, or services, but may not necessarily be the enduring pieces of infrastructure that we need over the longer term due to the pace of technological advancement and disruption that can follow. What is clear, however, is that we are entering a digital age. What’s fuelling the drive towards a digital age? In the water and environment sector, we are already seeing the benefits of easier data access in the projects we undertake. For example, we can now freely access the whole LiDAR archive (a dataset that represents land surfaces) which allows engineering designs to achieve a high level of accuracy and more quickly than ever before. This enables growth, whilst embedding resilience to our new infrastructure, and supporting long term sustainability due to improved accuracy. So, we should not fear entering this new age. Another aspect I believe is driving us

UK & Europe ,

Ian Heijne
19 Sep 2016

For me it is hugely important for a variety reasons. Firstly, the report has finally acknowledged public concern that there has been too much damage to property due to flooding in recent years. Secondly, it is evidence that the government has taken this opportunity to at last advance the technical understanding of flood risk – something that has been outdated for quite some time. So does it achieve these objectives?  Yes and no. The emphasis of this review is on the impact of flooding on public services and infrastructure, which is important as disruption to the road network, electricity supply and water supply has to be avoided. Working closely with the water companies and telecoms, the government has gained agreement for some 530 vulnerable sites to be protected. This is good news. This report has also undertaken a significant piece of research, carried out by the Met Office, to completely reshape the way that we predict rainfall, which is something that consultants like Atkins have needed for some time. Instead of looking back at recorded data and then using some ‘simple maths’ to attempt to predict what the future holds, the Met Office’s weather forecasting computers can now generate over 900 years of future rainfall predictions across the whole of the UK. This is a major step forward. From my perspective, we must move away from statistical analysis to this new synthesis based approach based on actual physical processes. Importantly the findings of this review confirm that the ‘Extreme Flood Outlines’ (areas with

UK & Europe ,

Projects

View all

During large storm events, the Las Vegas Wash channel overbanks would flood due to overflow of the main channel, requiring regular and costly debris cleanup and repair of the facility’s only access road. Despite it not being designed to do so, the access road served as a grade control structure to protect improvements made to the channel upstream. Aside from making the facility inaccessible, failure of the road would have jeopardized the structural stability of those improvements as well as threatened underground utilities. Failure of the access road would have also resulted in damages to the surrounding private and public properties and facilities. To remedy, channel improvements were designed to increase capacity and protect against any further damage. A secondary access road was constructed; 1,100 feet of various new utilities (20-inch water, twelve 6-inch power conduits, twelve 4-inch fiber-optic conduits, and four 12-inch sludge lines) crossing the wash were designed; and other increased security measures were put in place to secure the site. To reduce cost and expedite construction of a new 200-foot steel girder bridge over Las Vegas Wash, we worked with the construction contractor and CCWRD to recycle steel girders from a former bridge. We inspected the old bridge’s superstructure, investigated the life span of the steel, verified the geometry of the girders for compatibility of design, and modeled using MDX software. 1D and 2D (pre- and post-project) hydraulic models of the area were also developed and sediment transport analysis was performed to ensure that there are not adverse impacts to

North America ,

Atkins worked with SFWMD to forecast the total cost of keeping the system operational and within acceptable levels of risk. Through a phased approach, we began by documenting each asset with its associated lifetime cost—recognizing that many assets would be in need of repair or replacement at the same time in the next 20 to 30 years. As a result, we identified the need to optimize maintenance scheduling so costs could be spread out over time, while ensuring no assets were going too far beyond their projected lifespan. Anchored by a digital workbench developed in Excel, the second phase implemented a solution that allows managers to quickly load assets into Excel’s familiar table system. The data is then used for modeling scenarios to optimize long-range life-cycle capital expenditures for existing and planned infrastructure. The workbench is linked to a central database and scenarios are published for the management team to review. By working with SFWMD staff and clearly identifying the level of detail needed for the results, a fully-reviewed system report was ready in four months. The application was installed as a “living document” and is updated from the District’s inventory of record. This powerful set of tools allows SFWMD’s managers to understand risks and create consensus on management scenarios, while building confidence in proposed budgets to manage the system in the future. Using this application, the SFWMD was able to demonstrate a need to increase its budget by roughly $20 million per year in order to

USA ,

Atkins has completed the flood control master plan updates for the Las Vegas Valley since 1997 (consultant-led updates). Individual flood control plans must be reviewed every five years, and the master plan must be continuously updated to assess progress, identify obstacles, and to recommend changes needed due to growth and development of the area. Over time, the master plan has evolved into a technical tool for guiding local governmental agencies and private consultants in the development of both public and private property. The master plan update process includes data collection, updating land use data, determining hydrologic modeling parameters using GIS capabilities, updating hydrologic models, updating the flood control facilities inventory in a GIS geodatabase, making master plan facility recommendations, and estimating facility construction costs. To support this process, Atkins developed a hydrologic model of over 1,500 square miles, which defines accurate 100-year peak flows and volumes for the entire valley. Atkins also developed a relational geodatabase to represent valley watersheds and associated regional flood control facilities, serving as the foundation for associated modeling efforts. A custom suite of GIS tools was also developed to facilitate the continuous update/maintenance of the master plan. In addition, an automated cost estimation tool was created to predict the future cost of flood control facilities for more accurate forecasting and planning. The tool summarizes the costs of all facilities in the region, keeping track of the value of flood control infrastructure—helping our client best plan for and provide effective flood controls. © Jeffreyjcoleman | Dreamstime.com

USA ,

As part of our commitment to support the Risk MAP program, Atkins developed Floodmap Desktop (FMD), the only publicly available digital flood insurance rate map (DFIRM) software on the market. FMD enables users to create discovery maps, flood hazard profiles, flood risk reports and databases, quality control reports, and flood insurance studies. Automated and flexible data processing capabilities allows users to access, develop, compile and report on floodplain data easily and efficiently. FMD can be licensed as a single standalone license or floating server license(s) for maximum project efficiency. FMD includes enhanced quality checks to verify all data meets FEMA quality control requirements, and contains topological rules to ensure the database feature classes are topologically correct. Help desk support is also included, as are software updates with a yearly license. With FloodMap Desktop, users have a simple, quick, and effective tool to complete DFIRM tasks and Risk MAP projects. For more information or to download a trial version, please visit http://floodmapdesktop.com/.

USA ,

The primary tools for controlling and treating stormwater are referred to as stormwater best management practices (BMPs). BMPs include features such as detention ponds, rain gardens, and swales, which slow and treat stormwater as it moves through the system, helping to reduce flood risk during storms and also improve water quality. To help the city decide where BMPs should be placed for the best results, Atkins worked with Bonita Springs to develop the BMP Assessment Tool (BAT). The tool allows the city to simulate various scenarios for placing BMPs throughout the stormwater drainage system. Using a rainfall/runoff algorithm, the tool estimates pollutant loads across the network for each scenario, supporting informed decision-making on which BMPs to implement and where to place them. A challenge in evaluating pollutant levels is estimating the amount of directly connected impervious areas (DCIA) in a community. These areas include buildings, driveways, parking lots, and roads that contribute to high concentrations of pollution. Traditionally, the way to accurately estimate DCIA is to use aerial imagery—an expensive and labor-intensive process many communities cannot afford. The BAT uses a new process of “virtualizing” DCIA by interpreting available road and parcel databases to simulate its likely location, producing a more accurate (and less costly) estimate of DCIA than traditional land use-based methods. By creating what-if scenarios, based on existing conditions and proposed BMP plans, the city was able to reach consensus on their citywide BMP plan. The plan includes a new multi-million dollar park project, which will improve recreation

USA , North America ,

Rather than repair and maintain the refuge in its existing form (an artificial freshwater habitat), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined the best solution was to return the habitat back to its original state as a salt/brackish marsh. Before active management, the refuge was diked and managed into four freshwater impoundments that cover more than 10,000 acres. Atkins identified sustainable solutions by addressing the necessary repairs and developed the steps necessary to allow the refuge to revert to a salt and brackish marsh. We generated a hydrodynamic and numerical model of the refuge and the adjacent bay region using Delft3D modeling software to account for the effects of tides, wind, waves, and the mixing of fresh and salt water. Our staff of technical, scientific, and industry experts conceived a design that incorporated existing features with new ones in a way that balanced theory and constructability. This project led to the creation of an established Atkins model for habitat restoration and flood-proofing for coastal developments facing sea level rise. By incorporating sustainable design into natural and manmade features, such as conveyance channels, this model is a “next-step” approach to basic marsh-fill designs and may provide resource benefits to recent re-nourishment projects along the gulf coast. The refuge’s design serves as a model for effective management of coastal erosion from sea level rise—applicable to many other areas along the U.S. coastline. The project received the 2016 Environmental Excellence Silver Award from the World Organization of Dredging Associations (WODA) in its

USA , North America ,

This two-berth cruise terminal on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is capable of accommodating up to two post-Panamax cruise vessels, which translates to roughly 10,000 visitors a day. Carnival Corporation estimates eight of its brands will make 140 calls on the port, with 23 ships throughout its first year of operation. In addition to planning, landscape design, architecture, and engineering services for Amber Cove’s structures and amenities, we also designed roadways and the transportation hub that helps visitors take onshore excursions and explore outlying points of interest. The development also includes hillside waterslides overlooking the 5-acre pool/lazy river recreation area, a zipline, a series of shops and restaurants, a destination duty-free shop, and a hilltop food and beverage establishment with a 360-degree ramp access from below. Echoing the culture and existing architecture in the area, we incorporated modern interpretations of historical periods of significance for the Puerto Plata province. Visitors perusing the 25-acre waterfront development will enjoy an architectural nod to the fortified 16th century, classical-colonial 18th century, and Victorian late 19th century in 25 buildings and multiple landscapes. Atkins also incorporated features that promote self-sufficiency and sustainability including rooftop rainwater harvesting, seawater desalination, a wastewater treatment plant to minimize environmental impacts, and backup generators to ensure uninterrupted utility service.

Dominican Republic , North America ,

The 450-foot long pier sits within a highly visible, narrow manmade navigational channel between Miami Beach and Fisher Island. The channel is the main entrance to PortMiami, the world’s leading cruise port and Florida’s largest container port. Approximately 20 million vacationing passengers travel through the channel to vacation destinations such as, Bahamas, Caribbean, and Mexico. Because of the high visibility of the pier, it was important to honor local aesthetics. Atkins carefully considered every facet of the pier’s redesign. 338-feet of designated fishing areas were incorporated. Durable concrete benches and two canopy structures were installed. Aluminum bar grading covers the pier’s subfloor and is topped with Ipe wood in South Pointe’s signature honeycomb pattern. Protecting the local sea life was also a priority. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)-approved, turtle friendly lighting was used throughout the pier to minimize impacts on hatching sea turtles. To protect corals and water quality, Atkins prepared an Avoidance and Minimization Plan (AMP), which served as a guide for the construction contractor to address construction impacts. Corals were relocated to an artificial reef recipient site west of the pier. 29 coral-encrusted rock boulders within the project footprint were also relocated to the same site. Potential water quality impacts were addressed in a turbidity monitoring plan. Complex environmental conditions required permitting approvals from multiple agencies. Land and water rights, held by the City, state, and federal government, had to be updated prior to construction. Atkins used its longstanding relationships and experience with regulatory agencies to ensure all requirements

Dominican Republic , USA ,

Products

READY TO DIG

Ready to dig  

Atkins is the UK’s leading provider of utility reports. We also provide a wide range of utility management services across the lifecycle of a project.
www.utilitymanagementsolutions.co.uk/readytodig/

Locations

For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:

Europe

Graham Hunt
Water market director
Infrastructure
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1372 75 4413     
Email

Matthew Toy
International client director
Water
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1372 754 268
Email

Middle East

Ben Thompson
Head of communications
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 405 9193
Email

North America

United States of America
Tel: +1 800 477 7275
Email

 

 

Careers

View all