Project funder


Project lead/Principal Investigator

Professor David Butler (University of Exeter)

Project team/co-investigators

Research partners/collaborators

  • ACO
  • Arup Company
  • Black & Veatch
  • Consumer Council for Water
  • Environment Agency
  • Arcadis
  • Knowledge Transfer Network
  • Lund University
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Water Policy International
  • Water Industry Forum
  • The Welsh Government

Project summary

Safe & SuRe was an EPSRC-funded fellowship project that developed a new paradigm for sustainable and resilient urban water management at a time of global uncertainty. Researchers developed and tested new interventions so existing urban water systems can be better used, managed, regulated, planned, operated, rehabilitated, retrofitted and redesigned to cope with global uncertainties. The Safe & SuRe team undertook a range of knowledge exchange and impact activities based on research findings to assist in creating a resilient and sustainable urban water sector, working with major UK water providers.

The Safe & SuRe interventions framework provides a diagramatic representation of the relationship between threats and consequences. It enables intervention opportunities to be identified to design a more resilient water system. Emerging threats are addressed, the intervening water system, impacts on system performance (expressed as levels of service), and the social, economic, and environmental consequences of a level of service failure. It aims to provide greater clarity to decision makers, allowing better informed choices to be made. The framework also connects to global challenges of climate change, energy, food production, agriculture, and health; all of which may be threats to water management and/or consequences of water system failure.

Key findings

The multidisciplinary research produced findings across the following array of topic areas. For more details, please view the publications and presentations page on our Safe & SuRe project website as findings are wide-ranging and comprehensive.

  • Sewerage, drainage and flood resilience
  • Wastewater treatment resilience and sustainability
  • Water supply and distribution resilience
  • Organisational resilience in the water sector
  • Individual, household and community resilience – floods, droughts
  • Emergency planning for water sector resilience – floods, droughts
  • Decision Support Tools: Global Resilience Analysis software add-on, screening methods, flexible design
  • Intervention technologies: SUDs, multi-purpose rainwater harvesting.

Project outputs

Please visit the Safe & SuRe project website for the full and extensive list of publications, presentations, conference papers, workshops and more.