Welsh Government PhD Placement: Assessment of drinking water quality standards in Wales

Deadline for applications: 15th July 2024 @ 15:00hrs (BST)


There are many challenges facing the effective and responsible management of water, including maintaining safe and reliable drinking water supplies which is critical to public health and well-being. The management of water bodies and the continued provision of high-quality water are under continuing pressure from climate change, extreme weather events, pollution levels and increased demand for water to support population growth.

The quality of public and private water supply in Wales is regulated under retained EU legislation, specifically the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2018 and the Private Supplies (Wales) Regulations 2017 which transposed the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC).

The Directive has since been revised at EU level to reflect more recent scientific developments and recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on drinking water standards.

Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, the Welsh Government is committed to continue to deliver safe, clean and reliable drinking water to our homes, businesses and industry. For this reason, consideration is being given to the full or partial transposition of Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast) 2020 (Recast Directive).

The Recast Directive aims to ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment from the negative effects of contaminated drinking water. It updates water quality standards and introduces a risk-based approach to monitoring water. It also seeks to improve the information on water quality and water services provided to consumers as well as access to clean water.  This includes public and private water supplies.

Project Outline:

The postholder will require to undertake the evaluation of the recast Directive in cooperation with key partners, such as the Drinking Water Inspectorate and water companies operating in Wales. The post holder will be required to lead on this work, undertake detailed analysis and evaluation of the Directive’s aims and requirements, including identifying existing research and evidence and evidence gaps, with the purpose of developing fully considered and scoped out options for the Welsh Government.

The remit of this placement falls under the portfolio of the Minister for Climate Change and supports delivery objectives identified under primary legislation such as the Environment Act and Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

The placement will be in the Water Policy Team which is responsible for developing bespoke policy for Wales to manage its water systems sustainably, including inland waters, estuaries and coastal waters. The team also oversees the effective functioning of Wales’ water industry and safeguards drinking water quality in line with statutory specifications.

For further information about the role and details of the application process please download the following document:

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