AD3 Task 1: Setting the baseline


  1. Identify intensive uses of water and average consumption rates
  2. Identify water stressed areas, locations prone to drought and water quality issues
  3. Assess climatic changes and identify new risk areas
  4. Identify vulnerable people and assets that are or may be affected by a water issue
  5. Assess existing infrastructure
  6. Assess current use of Sustainable Drainage Systems
  7. Assess the consequences and vulnerability to a drought event


Setting the baseline involves identification of current risks and consideration of the area’s existing adaptive capacity.

Sub-tasks 1 and 2 will help you understand the characteristics of your area in relation to water availability and quality management. It is important to remember the concept of spatial scale for these tasks (see Defining Spatial Scale). Rural and urban areas will have different constraints and opportunities for water resource management. If your local authority is signed up to NI188 you may be able to draw on the outputs, or contribute to the development of their Local Climate Local Impacts Profile. For more information refer to monitoring and reviewing part of the translating evidence into policy section. Talking to other departments in your authority, local water boards and other water-related infrastructure providers will enable you to draw a local picture about water consumption and management. This dialogue is also vital when considering adaptive measures in task 2.

To fulfil sub-tasks 3 and 4 you will need to carry out a risk assessment. A framework based on the UKCIP methodology for risk assessment is provided in the setting the baseline section. You will also need to use the UKCP09 to understand the changes in precipitation that may occur in your area. This will help you understand the potential risks relating to water shortages, drought and the impact on water quality.

To help complete sub-task 5 you may wish to refer to the Practice Guide for the climate change PPS. The providers of key infrastructure will hold information on the extent of supply and network constraints and their existing plans to reinforce those networks and capacity. This information will be an important consideration in assessing whether a spatial strategy can be delivered. For more detail please refer to the infrastructure and delivery section of the PAS website.

Sub-task 6 is the same as sub-task 5 of the flood risk management policy objective, which you may have already addressed.

This process will help you identify the adaptive capacity of people and assets in your area, in the context of a drought event or poor water quality. With this information you will be able to make an informed decision about where new or improved infrastructure or adaptive measures are required.