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Mott MacDonald receives World Health Organization backing for Moata Safeswim

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its published Guidelines on Recreation Water Quality, cites Safeswim, developed by Mott MacDonald for Auckland Council as an exemplar project. The guidelines highlight the importance of predictive models to improve operational monitoring and provide timely information to the public on recreational water quality.

The WHO’s endorsement is further proof of the effectiveness of the Mott MacDonald project that won the prestigious Global Water Awards, Smart Water Project of the Year.

In the UK, the latest amendments to the Environment Bill place duties on water companies not just to reduce sewage discharges from overflows but to monitor and publish data on the impacts of discharges on water quality. Investment in digital solutions will assist the industry in complying with regulations on transparent reporting.

Greater transparency and communication will promote collaboration between service providers, stakeholders and the public. This will support a systems-based, catchment-wide approach to water management so that resources, demand, assets and risks are managed holistically, including efforts to drive up water quality standards.

Safeswim’s use in Auckland is helping improve its infrastructure to prevent pollution, the city’s long-term goal. It allows the public to know when and where the water is safe to enter.

Water quality test results, monitors installed at 30 key points across the city’s wastewater network, combined with real-time tidal, river hydraulics and meteorological data, are fed into the Moata platform that analyses the inputs to predict when and where sewer overflows will occur.

This data is shared with the public via the Safeswim webapp which provides up-to-the-minute bulletins and maps on swimming conditions at over 120 beaches. An independent audit found Safeswim’s water quality predictions to be 89% accurate.

It has not only enabled water users to make informed decisions about where to swim and surf, it has strengthened trust and opened dialogue between the council and the local population. This has increased people’s awareness about the causes and effects of water pollution, and their willingness to pay for improvements.

Mott MacDonald - digital

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