News | Published April 15 2020

Chief Executive of Water Management Consortium: “In less than a week, we produced a Covid-19 Dynamic Risk Register”

The role of key workers in the Covid-19 outbreak cannot be understated. From NHS staff, to those working in supermarkets, the country continues to run thanks to their work. The Parliamentary Review spoke with the Chief Executive of Water Management Consortium, Andrew McGill, who discusses the way in which their key workers have adapted to present circumstances.

We are ever mindful of and greatly appreciative of the commitment and care given by all health service workers, particularly those on the front line, who willingly put themselves in harm’s way, day after day for the benefit of us all – a truly selfless act. We are also acutely aware of the government’s clear directions to suppress “the curve” through isolation measures and working from home. Emerging from one of the wettest periods on record, we considered the role of the Water Management Consortium and whether we should continue to operate or isolate. The outcome of our discussions and resultant actions follow below.

It was considered that a failure to restore the systems back to their full operational ability, as soon as practicable, would exacerbate the impact of any heavy rainfall event. Any instances of flooding would add further complexity for those dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic across the 150,000 hectares protected by our lowland drainage systems.

Protecting national infrastructure such as elements of the A1, M180, gas terminals, several power stations, many rural communities and larger conurbations on the east coast of Lincolnshire, Retford, Newark and Doncaster to name but a few, and significant areas of the country’s most productive farmland, we considered our works to be critical.

With this in mind, we moved swiftly to comply fully with the government’s direction across the consortium. In less than a week, we produced a Covid-19 Dynamic Risk Register, set up home working for all office staffs, established effective remote communications facilities, scrubbed through our operational and engineering programmes and targeted our efforts on critical and essential recovery and maintenance works. A separate Dynamic Risk Register captured those critical works and sharpened the focus of the organisation.

Our Corporate Resource team addressed the communications challenge, identified workers at higher risk, produced risk assessments for those working at home and in the field and our accounts team ensured that we remained financially able and secure to operate. Our Directly Employed Labour Organisation willingly went out and performed their role reforming watercourses that had deformed during the recent heavy rainfall period and prepared our equipment for summer cutting.

Proactively engaging with our contractors who move our equipment and undertake mechanical and electrical engineering repairs to our pumps and control systems, also precipitated a similar positive response along with a palpable sense of duty to support our efforts.

The sum and timeliness of these actions brought certainty to our direction, gave clear purpose to operations and engineering teams working out on the ground, where absolutely necessary, and maintained the morale and cohesion of our team.

Once again, our thoughts return to those on the front line combating this pandemic. Our drive and energy to press on with critical works as quickly and for as long as we are able are drawn from that exhibited by those on the front line. We remain committed to do everything we possibly can to ensure that when the rainfall returns, as it always does, we will have done our absolute best to keep it in our systems and avoid making an exceptionally difficult situation worse.

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Authored by

Andrew McGill
Chief Executive, Water Management Consortium
April 15 2020

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