The findings and recommendations from Phase 1 and feedback from partners have shaped the direction of the next phase of the project – Phase 2, the main ambition for this phase of the project is to deliver workstreams and activities that will allow us to design a framework that enables delivery of Integrated Water Management. This will support the identification of options at scale which deliver multiple benefits for the environment and people.
To achieve this, we have expanded our stakeholder engagement to allow us to take a more collaborative approach to phase 2 working across sectors, engaging key water industry, strategic planning, Defra Group, developer, infrastructure and utilities stakeholders to: test new ways of working, analyse evidence, and create guidance
The proposed approach is to take the work forward as a programme of projects to reduce the complexity by delivering individual strands or testing individual elements in depth. However, we note the importance of continuing to manage the projects as a series due to the high level of interdependencies between the project outputs, outcomes, and the crossover of stakeholders.
Moving forward as a program will allow:
- greater focus on individual topics
- more effective engagement with relevant stakeholders on their topic areas.
We propose structuring the work under two key strategic themes:
- Maximising the potential of planning policy.
Considering the spheres of influence policies have on the water environment
We are going to test and trial a systems-based approach to understanding local plans, by developing a shared understanding of the interdependencies between decision. This will provide a clear way for planners to integrate strategic water infrastructure requirements into planning policy. It will provide the basis for identifying better ways of linking existing policies / opportunities for efficient delivery of water environment improvements or reducing increases of pressure on water.
- Rethinking water planning:
reconciliation and trialling approaches to option selection to achieve wider benefits
Through analysis of existing planning processes, we will try to determine and test how to employ a more coordinated, holistic approach to identification of interventions, we hope and expect that this will allow alternative options to be identified/selected by recognising their ‘whole value’ (rather than siloed benefits within sub-systems). Integrated catchment modelling is anticipated to be required to support the assessment/demonstration of the wider benefits of ‘alternative options’ and optimisation of the solution to contribute to our shared ambitions.
The ultimate aim of this work strand is to enable more effective coordination and sharing of information between multiple decision-makers and water plans.
Alongside/supported by a series of smaller pilot projects, and underpinning work to engage and enable others in the next phase.
Pilot Projects: We are outlining and scoping with partners and the OxCam Leadership group (as part of the forming OxCam Pan Regional Partnership) a series of “sprint” pilots projects at different scales, with different objectives. These projects will feed into our two strategic themes and explore specific links to deliver and shape an integrated approach to water, utilising existing strategic planning tools and approaches i.e., areas of interest identified by partners include LNRS (Local Nature Recovery Strategies) and the future water needs of agriculture and emerging tech industries.
These main areas of work will be supported by:
- Vision and Targets
There is an identified need for a clear, collectively owned vision for the water environment. Whilst this is not necessarily a key output for the IWMF project we recognise the value this would give, enabling agreement on how our Integrated Water Management Framework project contributes to a shared vision (in the context of wider ongoing projects).
- Developing Guidance and tools
Project outputs and learnings will be pulled together throughout to develop an interactive decision-making toolkit that will support organisations, in OxCam and beyond to understand how they can better integrate water to deliver wider benefits for the environment, society and understand the value and investment of this.