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Water 2050: draft innovation strategy published

Today (9 July) marks the launch of the long-anticipated, and UK's first, draft Water Innovation Strategy.

The document looks ahead to 2050 and provides a roadmap for the UK water sector to make the step-change in collaborative innovation required to meet the many and varying challenges for the future.

It is published in anticipation of Ofwat’s £200m innovation fund, and the establishment of a Centre of Excellence which will act as a UK hub for global water innovation.

Its launch starts a period of engagement inside and outside the sector, with the aim of galvanising interest and ideas from a broad range of organisations who could play a role in helping to shape and deliver a different future for water across the country.

UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) facilitated the development of the Strategy, alongside Arup and the 19 UK water companies. It is open for consultation through the summer and will be finalised in September 2020.

The strategy has been organised into seven key themes which focus on addressing the water sector’s greatest challenges and where the most significant benefits for customers and the environment can be achieved. These include delivering carbon neutrality, protecting and enhancing natural systems, providing services that society expects and values, and delivering resilient infrastructure systems.

Central to delivery of the strategy is a proposal for a Centre of Excellence – a central hub that will bring together the people, skills, testing facilities and data needed to make the UK a world leader in water innovation and provide a single gateway for partners interested in working with the sector.

UKWIR chief executive Steve Kaye said: “For the first time we can see the full picture of the innovation landscape across the UK and beyond which shows a web of opportunity for the sector to collaborate with a range of global organisations to access the best intelligence, maximise opportunities across sectors and leverage more funding to drive the progress we need in a co-ordinated and collaborative way.

“The development of the strategy and the Centre of Excellence proposal has been a truly collaborative effort from all involved. Its launch marks the next step on our journey, and we are keen for organisations and individuals to participate, who think they have a part to play in its future.”

“The future of water lies in all of our hands,” added Southern Water chief executive Ian McAulay. “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with others around the country, combining minds and resources to find innovative solutions to issues – today and for the future.

“It’s very important to involve others in this conversation, and everyone is invited to shape how we do this together. There are definitely some big decisions to be made. Being part of this work and furthering this conversation is a great step forward.”

The Innovation Strategy is available at – https://waterinnovation2050.org.uk/ – where you can also sign up to attend the launch webinar to be held on Thursday 16 July at 10am.

Topic: Innovation , Policy & Regulation , Sustainability & social value
Tags: water companies , ofwat , consultation , Innovation , infrastructure , environment

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