New guide helps water companies manage risk

Posted: Wednesday 26th June 2013

New guidelines published by Cranfield University will help water companies in the international water sector better manage and implement effective risk governance.

Managing risk and opportunity for water utilities is central to water safety and security, serviceability, profitability, environmental sustainability and improved water quality. A change in the tone of regulations, increased pressure from customers, financial stakeholders and the added complexity of long term risks such as changing climate, demography and infrastructure renewal are all leading to the need for better risk management.

The ‘Risk governance: an implementation guide for water utilities’, is authored principally by Professor Simon Pollard, Head of Cranfield’s Department of Environmental Science and Technology. The publication provides utility managers and Boards with advice on the implementation of risk management, information on closer engagement with business leaders on issues of risk, improved integration of risk across the business and coordination of risk information within their organisations.

Simon commented: “Our user-friendly guide is for risk managers new to their role. This is a challenging job in most utilities because to be effective, risk managers must support colleagues in the business units and inform their Boards on issues that impact business performance and reputation. The guide will help risk managers scope out, and focus on, business critical elements of the job.”

Rob Pritchard, City of Calgary Utilities and Environmental Protection General Manager, said: “This is a tremendously useful guide for utility managers, not just to inform themselves, but to lay the ground work for a common understanding and a consistent approach to risk management across their organisations. With an inviting look and feel and methodical layout of content, it is an easy read. It is comprehensive, yet manageable in length, making it a very practical reference document for utility mangers to advance risk culture in their organisations.”

David Owen, Risk Policy Manager for Yorkshire Water, said: "I would encourage any new, aspiring or experienced Risk Manager to apply the content and principles in this guide to help make an impact in your organisation. For me this guide provides the condensed experience of many experts from different utilities in one place and is invaluable."

The document was funded by the US Water Research Foundation, the City of Calgary Water Services and a consortium of international water utilities, with support in the UK from Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, Southern Water and UKWIR.

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