River basin management : development responses within the context of catchment management planning in England and Wales 1990-1996.
'Water stress' is a term used when the pressures of urbanisation and the uncertainty of climate change on hydrological limits and capacities can no longer be overcome by traditional supply-oriented engineering responses because of their economic and environmental costs. It can be argued that the key alternative water policy responses are occurring with the changing role of development and Catchment Management Planning (CMPg) to a more 'catchment consciousness' water management model.
In England and Wales the emergence of 'water stress' in the 1990s has coincided with the national launch of CMPg and renewed interest in development and water issues. Thus the research question sought to investigate how the National Rivers Authority (NRA) as a statutory environmental agency sought to improve and integrate river management by extending its influence to development planning through Catchment Management Planning (CMP) between 1991 and 1996. The particular areas of outcome focused on were water quality improvement, water resource management and flood protection, major NRA functions.
The research findings demonstrated that there were different types of development response linked to water issues, scale of implementation and potential contribution to city form. The most important factor in the type of response was the water issue, with the flooding relationship being most advanced and water resources the least. The CMPg process assisted by supporting the promotion of water policies in DPs and creating a new context (involving stakeholder involvement and consensus building) in which to implement these policies. CMPg was found to be having the greatest impact in areas where no previous consensus over particular water issues had existed, and thus had begun to act as a new arena for debate on the problems and solutions required.