The latest water industry news in the UK

By Energy Company Numbers on December 9, 2015 in Help and advice

Value of UK’s water resources and description of Freshwater.

The value of the UK’s lakes, reservoirs, marshes, bogs, canals and rivers has risen by more than a quarter in five years according to the first ever analysis of freshwater ecosystems from the Office of National Statistics.

Between 2008 and 2012 the value of the UK’s freshwater ecosystems, which cover inland wetlands and open water, rose by 26% from £29 billion to £37 billion.

What is Freshwater?

Freshwater can broadly be divided into wetlands, open waters and floodplains.

Open waters can be divided into two categories-standing waters and flowing waters.

Standing waters include natural systems-such as lakes, meres and pools-and man-made waters such as reservoirs, canals ponds and gravel pits.

Floodplains are generally located beside rivers and streams and act as a natural soak for floodwater if a river or stream overflows. A floodplain can broadly be described as: an area that would naturally be affected by flooding if a river rises above its banks or high tides and stormy seas causing flooding in coastal areas.

Microbial ecology of drinking water distribution systems

Ecological condition is an important characteristic that influences both wetland and open water ecosystems. The indicators selected for measuring ecological condition of wetlands are wetland birds and mean species richness: whereas, for open waters the indicators are surface water status.

The safety of drinking water is assumed and taken for granted by consumers in most western developed countries.

Microbial ecology of drinking water distribution systems is limited, as they are not easily accessible. However, available scientific literature (because of recent advances) have found that there is a diverse microbial ecosystem, with high bacterial and fungal abundance.

Modern water treatment systems works can produce safe drinking water reliably, efficiently and effectively, starting from a variety of sources and initial qualities. While considered safe and of a high quality this water is far from sterile.

There is evidence that some microorganisms can persist after treatment and enter and live within distribution systems.

Historically treatment works have not always operated to the current high standard, which helped the organisms survive.

Once the microorganism is in the system they face a challenging environment with limited nutrients and changing water flow and pressure fluctuations.

There best chance of survival is to attach to the pipe surfaces where they are protected from external adverse factors and benefit from interaction with other microorganisms.

Studies of the microorganisms in distribution centres is on-going.

More than 95% of the biomass in this type of ecosystem attach to the pipe walls forming biofilms.

About the Author

Energy Company NumbersView all posts by Energy Company Numbers
Energy Company Numbers is a telephone number directory service dedicated to helping UK consumers keep in touch with their energy suppliers.


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