The Economics of Waste Least-Cost Planning, 2005

The Situation

Though methodologies for clean water supply-demand planning have received a great deal of attention from the water industry over the past decade, little guidance exists for planning wastewater service capacity. In response to this lack of guidance, Thames Water commissioned NERA to guide asset strategy and asset planning, assist in responding to local and regional development consultations and developer queries and applications, and to ensure that company business plans are economically defensible.

NERA's Role

Following a series of meetings with Thames Water engineers, catchment planners, asset planners, and economists, NERA produced a report that set out the economic foundations of wastewater planning, proposed and developed a set of high level formulations for achieving least-cost solutions to wastewater planning problems by means of optimization modelling, and described the data sources needed to populate such models. In the report, NERA identified areas where further research was needed to strengthen the approach under development. The economic foundations, modelling formulations, and research recommendations were presented to Thames Water at a delivery workshop.

The Result

Thames Water broadly accepted NERA’s findings and is collaborating with other UK water companies to develop the research program needed achieve a national industry consensus on wastewater planning methodologies.