Robust cases for investment in combined natural and engineered treatment systems will not only need to address treatment performance and financial criteria but also be able to demonstrate that such systems offer environmental benefits, can be appropriately and effectively regulated, and will meet with citizen approval.
The central ambition of WP5 is therefore to better understand the ways in which considerations such as environmental impacts, ecosystem service contributions, policy and governance arrangements, and socio-economic perspectives influence the desirability and feasibility of combined natural and engineered water services. Working closely with demonstration sites, WP5 will explore the dynamics between these considerations and scheme design. The goal is to develop more credible pathways to market opportunities for combined treatment systems, by helping system owners and operators to mitigate environmental impacts, assess costs, navigate regulatory compliance, and build trust and confidence in their wider communities.
The specific objectives are to:
- Characterise and evaluate the environmental impacts of combined systems throughout their life cycles, as well as the ecosystem services derived from their operation
- Identify potential gaps, barriers and leverage points in regulatory frameworks, both at national and EU level, that facilitate or hinder the advancement of combined systems
- Evaluate the social impacts of, and public receptivity towards, combined system, and identify new mechanisms to support effective citizen engagement.