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Water industry launches first ever innovation strategy, setting vision for up to 2050

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The water industry has launched its first ever innovation strategy, and it sets out a vision for the sector from now up to 2050. It’s thought that the strategy will allow water companies to come together to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the sector, including protecting the environment, achieving net zero carbon emissions, and ensuring that everyone continues to have access to safe, clean drinking water.

More than 150,000 people from both inside and outside the sector were consulted as part of the development of this new strategy, in addition to 19 water companies from across the UK and Ireland. Furthermore, UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) and consultants Arup were involved in the creation of this new strategy, which was unveiled last month at a virtual event involving representatives from all UK water companies.

The strategy could help deliver greater value for customers

The overarching hope for this new strategy is that it will help to deliver better value for customers, and more positive outcomes for the environment, all while making the sector’s approach to innovation more effective and efficient.

It could also help to ensure that Ofwat’s Innovation Fund is targeted at projects that will deliver the most benefit for the sector, and as part of the innovation strategy, the sector will establish a centre of excellence to bring together best practice from across the industry. Rather than creating a physical entity, this centre for excellence aims to allow water companies to collaborate, access skills and provide a focal point for water innovation.

Companies have stepped up with significant proposals

Collaboration between industry, government, regulators and other stakeholders has resulted in great progress in the effort to tackle challenges such as the cleanliness of UK beaches in recent decades – and it’s thought that a similar joint effort will reap rewards in the continued improvement of river quality.

Businesses have stepped up with significant proposals to contribute to the green, economic recovery and they have a key role to play as a founder of the new storm overflows taskforce, and they’re also finding new ways of protecting and enhancing precious resources like the nation’s chalk streams.

The water industry is determined to lead the way in the face of the major challenges ahead, such as climate change – and the sector is the first to develop a joint plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Ultimately, water companies are at the forefront of efforts to protect and enhance the environment, and they share the ambition of the government to accelerate progress in the fight against climate change.

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