FWR Guides

These Guides are a new series produced by FWR. They focus on topics related to water supply, wastewater disposal and water environments, which may be the subject of debate and inquiry. The objective of each Guide is to provide an authoritative introduction to a topic in non-technical English. A summary, or the complete document (Adobe Acrobat pdf file) may be viewed via the appropriate link.

Copies of the Guides are obtainable from the Foundation, price £15.00, less 20% for FWR Members. 

The EC Water Framework Directive: An Introductory Guide
Author: David Woods, Revised by Neil Tytler, September 2010 FR/G0001

The Water Framework Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in October 2000 and now provides the major driver for water policy in the UK for the foreseeable future. At the heart of the Directive is river basin management planning.

The purpose of this guide is to introduce the Water Framework Directive to a wide audience. Article 14 of the Directive requires Member States to encourage the active involvement of all interested parties in its implementation. For public consultation to be meaningful people will need a basic understanding of the principal features of the Directive and how these relate to the situation in their own local river basin.

This guide contains 32 pages and has a Bibliography containing 19 references.

Water Supply
A Householder’s Guide to Water Supply and Sewerage
Author: R G Ainsworth - revised by Neil Tytler FR/G0002 Revised April 2012

Water and sewerage services are taken for granted unless something goes wrong. There are good reasons for knowing more: - personal health may be affected by water contamination in the home, the health of the environment can be affected by what we dispose of down the drain, and leaking pipework may damage the fabric of the building. This guide provides an introduction to:

Sources of more detailed information are provided where possible.
The guide contains 23 pages, 34 footnotes and the contact details for relevant organisations.

River basin
The Evolution of River Basin Management in England & Wales
Author: David Woods FR/G0003 December 2006

This brief overview of the historical development of river basin management in England and Wales covers the evolution of the present institutional arrangements and how the inherited water quality has changed over the period 1850 to date. Three overlapping phases of development are suggested that relate to the political, social and economic imperatives of the time; namely the:

The history of the River Tame in and around Birmingham is used as an example of what happened at the local government level. The guide concludes with a summary of the Water Framework Directive and public participation.

This guide contains 10 pages and has a Bibliography containing 20 references.

Drinking Water Standards
  ©Paul Rapson/Science Photo Library
Drinking Water Standards and Guidelines
Author: John Fawell FR/G0004. Revised March 2012

Standards and guidelines for drinking water are continuing to evolve as knowledge increases. Standards are important in providing a basis for judging the safety of water supplies but they are also important in ensuring the acceptability of drinking water, providing a benchmark for water treatment and in some cases a means of reassuring consumers. The most important standards relate to the prevention of waterborne disease caused by pathogens that reach water sources in faecal matter from humans and animals. Many chemical contaminants can be found in water from natural sources and as a consequence of human activities. Standards for these are mostly based on health, although some are political. Standards for chemicals usually incorporate a significant margin of safety and an exceedance of a standard does not necessarily mean that the water is unsafe.

New approaches to assuring drinking water safety and quality are being introduced, particularly Water Safety Plans, which provide a holistic management tool to prevent problems arising. This guide explains and explores how standards are derived, taking account of the above considerations.

This guide has 51 pages and is fully referenced.

Recreational Water Quality

Standards for Recreational Water Quality
Authors: David Kay and John Fawell FR/G0005 December 2007

Although there have been microbiological standards for recreational waters for many years in both North America and Europe, these have not been soundly based and they lacked epidemiological evidence that could support the argument that they were health-evidence-based. In order to improve this situation, epidemiological studies were carried out in the UK to quantify the potential health effects of bathing in recreational waters. The WHO has utilised the UK information to develop Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments which were published in 2003. The new microbiological criteria for marine waters outlined in the 2006 Bathing Water Directive are, in part, based on the WHO criteria, but the derivation of the freshwater standards in the Directive is, at least partly, based on a German replication of the UK epidemiological research protocol. Real time management of risk through prediction of bathing water quality is also discussed in this guide.

This guide contains 24 pages and has a Bibliography containing 17 references.

Urban Rainwater Harvesting

Urban Rainwater Harvesting and Water Reuse A review of potential benefits and current UK practice
Authors: A J Rachwal and D Holt FR/G0006 January 2008. Revised: J. Lamont, R. Keirle & K. Spain, February 2015

There are several reasons for the rising interest in urban water use and reuse in the UK. These include the global trend for migration from rural to urban environments, with per capita water use amplified by the subsequent changing lifestyles and habits. Media focus on climate change has also led to increased concern about higher drought frequencies and potential constraints on water use in domestic urban areas. This guide is intended for readers interested in the topic of water reclamation, recycling and reuse for non-potable urban applications. This guide contains 40 pages with references and sources of further information.

Private Water Supply
 ©John Murphy, Springhead Water
Householder’s Guide to Private Water Supplies
Author: David Clapham FR/G0007 May 2010

This guide is intended to assist those who live in a house that has a private water supply, or who are contemplating moving into property served by a private water supply. It is specifically written for those who do not have any knowledge of the water supply systems. The safety of drinking water is paramount and owners of private water supplies will be keen to ensure that their drinking water is safe for the family and visitors. This guide will help owners to understand their system and to protect the quality of their supply. It also provides information about the regulatory background and the role of the Local Authority and will assist owners in dealing with organisations that provide treatment installation and maintenance services.

The guide also contains a checklist for householders, answers to some frequently asked questions and gives a list of sources of information and organisations that can provide assistance. The guide contains 49 pages and 7 figures and diagrams.


Urban Wastewater Management
An Introductory Guide

Author: David Woods FR/G0008 December 2010

Urban wastewater commonly comprises the waste waters from domestic, commercial, industrial and other human activities. It is conveyed for treatment to a wastewater treatment plant, more usually called a sewage works, via a network of drains and sewers called the sewerage system. Urban wastewater management is a key man-made component of the water cycle.

The guide provides an introduction to urban wastewater management for those with limited technical background. It gives information to support readers interested in effective river basin management.

Farmoor Reservoir
 ©Thames Water Utilities Ltd
Public Water Supply Management - An Introductory Guide
Author: David Woods FR/G0009 October 2011

The objective of public water supply management is to supply wholesome water within set quality and levels of service criteria in sufficient quantity to meet consumer demand.

The guide explores the various sources of water for supply indicating the water quality issues associated with each: outlines the quality standards that must be achieved and maintained in public water supplies; describes the most commonly used treatment processes and the arrangements for distributing water to homes and places of work.

Boats & Caravans
 © joyfull/Shutterstock.com
Water Storage, Use & Wastewater Disposal for Leisure Boats & Caravans
Author: Mike Waite & Emma Oddie FR/G0010 July 2016

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of safe storage and use of drinking water, and disposal of wastewater, for owners of leisure boats and caravans. With reference to latest guidelines and regulations, this guide aims to bring all of the relevant information together in one easily accessible document. Following guidance in this report will help to ensure that leisure boat and caravan users meet their obligations to preserve clean water for everyone.

The Guide contains 31 pages with references and sources of further information.

 © Mayushaban/Shutterstock
UK Freshwater and Wetland Habitats: opportunities to get involved in their conservation and restoration
Author: Russell Frost and Peter Newman FR/G0011 August 2021

This guide aims to increase public awareness of the importance of biodiversity, specifically on freshwater and wetland habitats as hosts for wildlife. It also aims to increase public engagement in conservation and restoration activity. Pressures that threaten the natural world are summarised and indicative trends are described; selected priority habitats are characterised, and the range of wildlife that inhabit them is highlighted; the conservation and restoration efforts of a legion of institutions are acknowledged. Noting that many NGOs rely on volunteers to undertake practical action, this Guide identifies the wide range of organisations with which members of the public may engage and contribute.

Natural Capital
  ©  Simon Vayre Shutterstock
Natural Capital and its Relevance to Improving Freshwater and Wetland Habitats
Authors: Russell C Frost and Peter L. Faircloth FR/G0012 October 2021

Natural Capital refers to the elements of the natural environment (eg woodlands, rivers, minerals, parks) which provide a flow of benefits to people and the economy. The aim of the guide is to be of assistance to readers who would like to gain a basic appreciation of Natural Capital and to consider its relevance when applied at local and other levels to the conservation and restoration of freshwater and wetland habitats. It may be read as complementing FWR’s Guide (FR/G0011).

The Guide contains 80 pages with references and sources of further information.