EC hires consortium to review Drinking Water Directive

17 June 2015

The European Commission has a commissioned a team of external experts, under the management of Ecorys, to evaluate the Drinking Water Directive and to assess its impact. The main objective of the study is to support a possible revision of Europe’s drinking water policy.

Tap water is the fundamental source of drinking water and therefore the public drinking water supply is the cornerstone of public health. To protect human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, the EC in 1998 adopted the so-called ‘Drinking Water Directive’ (DWD). The legislation enforces member states to at the minimum monitor and regularly test their water for a total of 48 microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters, with the goal of ensuring water is wholesome and clean.

Drinking water

Yet as with all sectors, the demands of consumers as well as the challenges faced by the industry in 2015 are significantly different from those faced in 1998. Against this background the European Commission has decided to this year review its Drinking Water Directive’ in order to understand potential improvements which could benefit economy, society and the water sector. To conduct the review, the EC has commissioned five external firms – Ecorys, Alterra, KWR, ACTeon and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). Ecorys will serve as consortium leader and be responsible for Quality Assurance of all parts of the project.

The objective of the study is to provide support in a possible revision of the EU drinking water policy and the current Drinking Water Directive. In order to achieve the main objective of the study, two main study parts will be executed. The first part of the study covers an ex post evaluation of the Drinking Water Directive and drinking water policy to assess whether the legislation is fit for purpose and achieving its objectives. This ex post evaluation will cover the key performance dimensions of an ex- post public policy evaluation, including: effectiveness, efficiency, EU value added, coherence and relevance.

Ecorys, Alterra, KWR, ACTeon and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe

The second part of the study consists of an ex-ante impact assessment of future policy options for renewing the Drinking Water Directive. In this assessment a baseline scenario will be developed against which different possible alternative policy scenarios will be assessed in terms of environmental, health, social and economic impacts. The ex-ante impact assessment of different policy options is preceded by a dedicated task (Task 4) scoping and testing Drinking Water Health Risk Assessment.

“The consortium partners have brought together a strong and enthusiastic team. Within the team complementary expertise is present, combining thorough knowledge, on EU water policy and health issues in relation to drinking water, and skills such as evaluation, modeling, stakeholder consultation and impact assessment”, comments the European Commission.



How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.