The charity making life better by water

Managing the water in waterways

Adam Comerford, national hydrology manager heads up the Canal & River Trust’s water management team. Here he describes his role.

Hatton Locks Towpath Taskforce, March 2017

As national hydrology manager, my work life is very varied and busy. I head up a national team of 20 technical staff, responsible for providing advice and support on water resources and flood risk management to the wider business.

Since taking on this role in 2009 there have been many challenges, managing the balance between too little and too much water. Our Water Resources Strategy, published in 2015, sets out how we will strive to ensure long term security of water supply to the canal network.

We're also developing a 'Flood Risk Management Strategy', setting out how we aim to deliver long term resilience to flood risk on our network.

Both strategies aim to understand the longer-term pressures and challenges we will face in managing our water. Alongside this strategic work, the team helps to make sure our water resources infrastructure, especially reservoirs are safely managed on a day-to-day basis.

Working with other teams

As a team, we work collaboratively with others, both internal and external. We work closely with water companies, for example, feeding into their 'Water Resource Management Plans' where we interact with their water supply network. We strive to make sure our interests are safeguarded while also looking for opportunities to develop water transfer schemes, and through projects such as these, investment in our network.

We work closely with policy makers in government and regulators to influence new legislation that can affect our water resources or flood risk.

Representing our interests

We need to make sure the Canal & River Trust has a clear and important voice in the outside world, so I sit on the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Water Resources Panel and am a member of the British Hydrological Society's National Committee.

Through involvement in such groups, which include a range of experts drawn from government, regulators, water companies, consultants and research organisations to name a few, I provide technical expertise, help and advice, while ensuring our interests are taken into account at a national level.

Alongside my colleague Richard Bennett, I'm responsible for our CIWEM Professional Development Scheme, which helps our people have a structured way to progress towards achieving chartered status, demonstrating their competency to deliver water and environmental management as a professional.

Adam Comerford, National Hydrology Manager

Last Edited: 20 December 2017

photo of a location on the canals
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