Project update – Reviewing the model for water management in the North West

One area that we know can impact on waterbodies meeting good ecological status is water governance.

Water governance arrangements across the North West River Basin District vary considerably, and as part of a wider package of work we commissioned a consultant (Eunomia) to take a closer look at the governance arrangements currently in place.

Building on work previously undertaken by the Cumbria Pioneer Project we asked Eunomia to take a more detailed look at the governance arrangements in Cumbria, and talk to a range of interested groups and organisations to suggest ways that it could be improved, or changed if required.

As a result of, and based on this research, Eunomia have suggested an alternative water governance structure for Cumbria that they believe will better balance the many and varied needs of the groups, communities, and the environment.

This new model of water governance in Cumbria will include:

  • A Cumbria Catchment Manager post to strengthen the bridge between, for example, the Catchment Partnerships, and the decision-making bodies that impact on catchment performance.
  • Establishment of the Cumbria Strategic Water Partnership (CSWP) with a responsibility for achieving water objectives across disciplines, and sufficient authority to direct change.

Adam Chapman, Natural Course Project Manager said…

“This new structure will encourage a broader focus to integrate all voices from all stakeholders in a catchment, aligning different agendas including community resilience, water quality, flooding and biodiversity loss.”

“Natural Course proposes to fund the role of Catchment Manager for a period of 2 years which will support the new model, and if successful, will provide a platform for future governance activity.”

The full report can be found here:

The executive summary giving an overview of the three phases of this regional water governance study can be found here: