There are a number of challenges facing the Blue Heart project – many of which are repeated around the country.
There are many government agencies, companies, landowners, charities and other organisations involved in managing water, its infrastructure, and the land it crosses. And of course, being water, the source of a problem in our area may originate upstream, which is someone else’s responsibility!
With so many different organisations, it is tricky to work out who is responsible for maintenance or repair and get them working together. Different agencies monitor different types of water. This makes it hard to work out how different water sources interact. For example, the Environment Agency is responsible for fluvial (river) flooding, but not surface water flooding. Water knows no administrative boundaries!
Gaps in knowledge
Poor record-keeping and loss of vital information historically means we don’t know everything. These problems can now be addressed with technological advancements.
Blue Heart is bringing together data from all sources so we can understand how water moves through the area before major decisions are taken.
This means finding ways to share their data, which may be stored in different formats and systems. Some data can be commercially sensitive or personal. Blue Heart is working closely with these organisations to improve data sharing, communication and collaboration.
We’re drawing on the knowledge of local people with a real understanding of what happens ‘on the ground’, capturing this through consultation, interviews and our interactive map.
These challenges have led to neglect of our water infrastructure and the natural environment. There is a backlog of repairs and other problems to address, at the same time as cuts in resources. Blue Heart is seeking to provide the necessary evidence and challenge national policies on this.