Water droplets
Water droplets

A collaboration between Cranfield University and Portugal-based EPAL (Empresa Portuguesa das Águas Livres), has been awarded an International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Award for a study on strategic risk management in water.

A key objective for any water utility is a supply water of adequate quality, quantity and reliability. At the strategic level, other requirements such as guaranteeing business sustainability, profitability and reputation must also be considered. Managing the business risk associated to these objectives plays a key role in the governance of the modern water utility. However, existing tools for risk management at a strategic level are poorly developed, often focusing on short term individual risks as opposed to taking a holistic view of the long term impacts.

This award recognises the work undertaken for the project, Managing future risk – a novel approach for strategic risk management in water utilities. The project represents a novel approach to operational, programme-level and corporate risk for a water utility in Europe, providing a baseline risk comparison, a portfolio of possible future scenarios and a set of visualisation tools. The findings provide the basis for long-term, strategic planning under conditions of climate, demographic and land use change along with other mega-trends.

EPAL Chairman of the Board, José Manuel Sardinha, said: "We couldn’t be more honoured to receive this prestigious award from IWA. The value of this work is that it provides high levels of confidence that there is a firm understanding and active management of strategic risk within EPAL now and for the future, thus securing the success of its mission, which focuses on such a vital resource as potable water."  

Professor Simon Pollard, Cranfield University’s research lead, commented: "We are absolutely  thrilled to have achieved this prestigious award. This further advances Cranfield Water Science Institute’s profile on risk research and is testament to EPAL’s foresight in funding strategic research on long-term planning.  Utilities need the practical risk management tools and leading edge thinking that this project offers as they craft their adaptive, risk-informed business plans for the future."

Notes for editors

Winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in June at the Water Innovation Europe Conference in Belgium.

About EPAL (Portugal)

EPAL is a public limited company, fully held by AdP - Águas de Portugal, responsible for a supply system with more than 2,100 km of mains, from Castelo do Bode reservoir to the city of Lisbon.

Founded in 1863, EPAL supplies wholesale quality water to approximately three million people in 35 municipalities north of the River Tagus, corresponding to a total supply area of 7,090 Km², and retail water to more than 346 thousand direct customers in Lisbon.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment Doctoral Training Centre

This higher research degree is associated with our Environment Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The Environment DTC provides a focal point for engagement and academic discussion for all students involved in environmentally-related research at Cranfield. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge relating to the sector which characterise our research portfolio.

A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside the generic core skills training programme, provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities with Cranfield’s wider research community.