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View of the coastline in Criccieth, Wales

Models for coastal management

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) commissioned the largest Welsh coastal investigation and modelling project ever undertaken to improve its understanding of the factors affecting water quality at 49 sites along the entire Welsh coastline.

ClientDŵr Cymru Welsh Water
ExpertiseWater quality, coastal modelling, water quality modelling, surveys, network modelling, cloud computation


The evidence gathered would allow DCWW to:

  • Identify which sources of pollutants were the largest contributors to water quality issues.
  • Determine what measures – for example, asset improvement, catchment management, and reduction in misconnections – could deliver ‘excellent’ bathing water quality or ‘guideline’ quality standards in shellfish waters.
  • Inform DCWW’s future asset investment.


We undertook a study which covered 1700km of coastline, including more than 10 major estuaries, over 900 assets and 70 sewer network models in both urban and rural areas, some of which were heavily influenced by seasonal tourism.

Coastal models were created for the entire Welsh coastline and, to accommodate the number of model runs required, we used cloud computing to reduce calculation times and meet the stringent delivery schedules. In some areas, we reduced the run time from 6 months to 6 weeks, using more than 120 virtual computers.


This was a truly multidisciplinary study. Our dedicated team undertook a range of work involving literature, model and data reviews, extensive sampling campaigns, data analyses, and network, hydrodynamic and water quality modelling. We were able to provide DCWW with detailed information for cost-efficient investment planning, and Natural Resources Wales with an enhanced and detailed understanding of water quality issues at the 49 sites.

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