Earth Notes: Eco Puzzler: GB Water Grid

Updated 2024-04-28.
For those on their way to mastering engineering... Design an efficient and effective national grid for water! #ecoEngineering
From a series of eco puzzles set for real MEng students by "The Prof". This one is to devise a GB (or UK) national water grid.

Text lightly edited from real project work description for MEng students.

Many thanks to "The Prof" for so generously making this material available!

Design a GB National Water Grid

By: ""


There are [as of ~] national grids for electricity, gas and oil. These work well and, increasingly, there have been questions asked about a water grid. It seems an obvious need with rising populations in the south east of England, changing climate, hose-pipe restrictions, and so on.

The Environment Agency completed a study in which concluded that it was just too expensive and that there were other easier ways of solving the problem. Possibly so. But these other solutions are not without their environmental and disruptive impacts.

The project

Devise a more elegant scheme than the Environment Agency's, with a lower capital cost, lower operating cost, less environmental impact and better sustainability. The principal issue will be matching supply to demand over a thirty five year period, against a backdrop of climate change and shifting population. The engineering elements will include on-shore and off-shore pipelines, channels and watercourses, pumping stations, up-stream and down stream reservoirs, treatment works, power supply and control systems. Maybe there will be potential for energy recovery systems. And the environmental impact will be huge.

(Level: Masters; group work, learning activity.)