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Internal Drainage Board best practice and future roles in climate change adaptation and local resilience - WT1512

The challenges of climate change and increased demand for water from a growing population are predicted to extend the current abstraction management regime beyond what it was designed to cope with. In response to this, the 2011 Water White Paper: Water for Life, set out a vision, direction and process to reform the abstraction regime to make it more responsive to future uncertainty and enable water resources to be managed more effectively.

Defra is working closely with stakeholders in developing reform proposals. This includes establishing the Abstraction Reform Advisory Group, which comprises representatives from major trade associations and environmental NGOs, to guide the development and assessment of the options. In parallel to developing reform proposals, Defra is increasing its efforts to reduce damaging abstraction now by making better use of existing tools.

Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) already have a broad role in managing water levels for farming, managing flood risk and improving biodiversity. There could also be opportunities for IDBs to play a role in water resource management more widely. There are strong synergies with a number of Defra policy areas, including the potential role of IDBs for water trading under a reformed water abstraction regime, and their role in local resilience to climate change. IDBs could offer the potential for local abstraction management, and also have potential to serve as brokers or facilitators of water trading.
The aims and objectives of this study are to:

- learn from IDB best practice on increasing and improving local resilience to climate change (looking at both too much and too little water) to help inform Defra during development of more local and integrated approaches to water management; and

- work with IDBs to identify and assess the potential of a range of enhanced roles for IDBs to help better manage extremes of water, and work to design future collaborations/groupings best placed to tackle water management at catchment level.
Project Documents
• SUP - Supplementary Report : Annex 2 - IDBs preparing for climate change   (57k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : IDBs Annex 1 - teleconference responses   (489k)
• TRP - Technical Report : TR -Role of IDBs in managing water levels   (2222k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2013

Cost: £29,600
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Risk & Policy Analysts Ltd (RPA)
Adapting to Climate Change              
Water Resources