Water Industry News

Bristol Water Now Exploring Low Carbon Alternative To Drought Planning

As part of Ofwat’s £36 million Water Innovation Challenge, utility company Bristol Water has been awarded £620,000 to explore lower carbon alternatives to local drought planning, a move that could send ripples through the English wholesale water market.


The water supplier has teamed up with Castle Water, RWE, Binnies and the University of West of England to investigate whether land owned by electricity company RWE and Didcot Power Station can be used to supply treated water to retailer Castle Water. Bristol Water, meanwhile, will use its knowledge of water treatment to aid and manage the process.


If this particular project is successful, it will represent the first time that water has been provided outside land owned by water companies.


CEO of Bristol Water Mel Karam said: “The water industry needs an estimated £21billion to build resilience to drought over the next 30 years.


“To complement the industry’s current focus on infrastructure to pump water further, we’re exploring the development of smaller and local treated water supplies which could lower the environmental impact as well as a range of other benefits.”


The Water Breakthrough Challenge itself aims to address the biggest challenges now facing water and wastewater services, which includes reducing leakage, the path to net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and using open data to deliver greater value to society and the environment, as well as customers.


A second Challenge opened for entries on October 11th to deliver even more funding for other innovative water sector initiatives. Up to £39 million has been made available to be shared between those entries that offer the greatest number of benefits for water customers, the environment and wider society.


During the first round of the competition, water companies were seen to partner with the likes of Microsoft, Airbus, the Rivers Trust and the Zoological Society of London.


In all, £9 million was awarded to projects tackling the health of rivers and waterways, while £12.8 million went to those projects addressing how to reduce CO2 emissions and other pollutants from the water treatment process.


And £14.2 million was awarded to projects trying to resolve challenges facing vulnerable water users and communities, as well as preventing leakages to reduce bills.


John Russell, senior director at Ofwat, said of the competition: ““Through our Innovation Fund we want to bring in fresh thinking and inject new ideas and ways of working into the water sector to tackle the major challenges we face.


“Promoting the formation of new partnerships within the water sector and beyond, the Water Breakthrough Challenge encourages a startup-like approach to overcoming challenges with the potential to scale the solutions for long-term impact.”


He went on to say that the goal is to create a collaborative, open and progressive sector, helping water companies access new opportunities to learn from other sectors and industries.


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