Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Water Efficiency in Buildings Network - Phase 2 - WT1567

General aims and objectives
• Promote independent, multi-disciplinary water efficiency research within the academic community
• Transfer knowledge between academia, policy makers and regulators, third sector organisations and the building and water industries
• Help develop the evidence base for water efficiency, building on existing knowledge developed by the water industry, government and delivery bodies and academia

Activities include:
• Organising events; meetings, workshops, master classes and conferences to inspire water efficiency research and transfer knowledge
• Communicating research findings, applications and implications, collaborative Network working papers, journal and conference articles.


WATEF Phase II Proposal

This is a proposal of the form, structure and activity of the network for its fourth year and onwards. It is aimed at providing a better framework to establish the perpetuity of the network and to support its adaptability and continued relevance.
This proposal was initially presented at the May 2014 meeting at Defra. Further details have been added in the following sections.
Justification for change
Since its inception in 2011, the network has grown from around 40 core members to over 200 registered members and about 1000 interest-only members (mailing list) both in the UK and abroad. This is a positive development in that it is one of the indicators which show that the network continues to be relevant and is considered a useful forum for pertinent water efficiency issues as well as a positive vehicle for promoting collaboration and networking between academia, relevant and industry sectors and policy makers.
However, this success has raised an issue of how to continue to engage and engender participation from ALL members. The network’s website, social media e.g. twitter, the periodic newsletters and events are our primary tools to achieve this and analytics show increasing engagement with our online tools e.g. more new hits on our website, higher visibility of the website in search engines and those following the network on Twitter etc. Similarly, attendance at network events have grown and our events are now quite popular. Still, more needs to be done to promote continued participation of majority of members irrespective of the topic or focus of the event.
As a start, the plan for the current year introduced a pilot virtual master class as gauge if this will further increase participation. The other benefits are the reduced environmental footprint mostly due to travel and cost savings in the budget. The first virtual master class is scheduled for 27 June 2014 and the end of year report to Defra will discuss its success against the objectives. This is with the view to define the manner and scope of continuation of this type of event in subsequent years.
An improved approach
The network offers value in the following ways:
• Multi-disciplinary think-tank
• Collaboration and networking environment
• Knowledge promotion and transfer across specialism
• Annual thematic focus
• Local, national and global interest
The proposed plan aims to enhance these value streams as follows:
• Continuation of the annual thematic focus
• Introduce technical committees to promote specialist participation within a multi-disciplinary framework (the annual theme) The technical committees will be almost self-selecting (from the membership)
• Series of focused and output-oriented events structured around the tasks groups but within the bounds of the annual theme
• An annual conference as a culmination of the activities of the technical committees during the network year
The academic conference will continue to be held but opportunities to combine with existing conferences by the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) will also be explored.
Network themes
The following themes are proposed for Phase II.
Year 4 (2014-15): Water efficiency gold standard for service-led innovation
The activities around this theme will focus on exploring opportunities to innovate service provisions across the water sectionsector. This will cover supply and demand side services and innovations around the customer.
Year 5 (2015-16): The golden nexus: water, energy and carbon
The activities around this theme will focus on the water, energy and carbon nexus and aim to further explore and demystify the inter-linked benefits of resource (water, energy, carbon) efficiency solutions in general. These benefits will be evaluated against the main sustainability criteria; social, environmental, economic.
Year 6 (2016-17): The golden rule for water efficiency: a new approach to policy, regulations and standards
It is noticeable that the previous two things have moved away from the prevailing focus on technology, behaviour change and regulation. However, the final year in this network phase will aim to consolidate all the work on these issues as well as in the previous Years 4 and 5. The objective is to challenge members to think holistically and produce a golden rule for water efficiency to inform future policy, regulations or standards
Technical committees
Five technical committees are proposed to deliver the network's objectives within each specific theme. These are:
1. Policy and Standards
2. Buildings and Planning
3. People and Communities
4. Service Delivery and Innovation
5. Technological Innovation
Terms of reference
The proposed terms of reference the technical committees are as follows:
Each committee will:
1. Consist of registered network members. Registration is free and new members willing to participate in committees should be encouraged to join.
2. Nominate a chair to liaise amongst committee members and the network's team
3. Operate within the terms and conditions of the network
4. Operate within the realms of their subject and the annual theme of the network
5. Seek authorisation and operate within agreed budgetary limits
6. Liaise with the network team to deliver its annual outputs in a time and efficient manner
7. Send representatives to the annual conference to disseminate its outputs
Members can belong to more than one technical committee at the discretion of the committee chair and its members.
Special technical committee on Water Reuse
As agreed with Defra, a special technical committee will be convened this July in the lead up to a special session at the Water Efficiency Conference.
The plan is for a sandpit of at least 20 people (18 from the event and 2 or more from Defra, EA, the network and Water UK) to meet and deliberate the issues using our online tools: the forum on our website and the online conferencing facility.
The expectation is that a summary of the deliberations will be presented at the conference, together will workshop activities and break-out groups to derive concise recommendations which can contribute to future policy and standards on water reuse in the UK.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2017

Cost: £161,855
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University of Brighton
Water Resources              
Water Use