Building resilience across the wastewater industry is one of the key challenges facing water clients

26 Oct 2018

As our climate changes and populations increase, our sewerage systems are coming under increasing pressure to accommodate greater and more intense flow volumes, whilst dealing with an ever-aging network of pipes and pumping stations that require ongoing maintenance and/or replacement.

On Wednesday 24th October, RPS hosted senior water industry managers from water companies across the UK to review the key challenges facing the industry. This forum provided an opportunity for an open discussion on the future of the UK’s sewer networks.

Following the PR19 business plans the water industry needs to make the most of their capital or operational investment if our sewer networks are to meet 21st Century needs and protect the country from the massive expense caused by sewers flooding and the resulting environmental pollution. Making better use of the data that RPS generates is key, as is having a thorough understanding of our sewerage networks to facilitate better industry/customer interactions.

The delegates took part in interactive workshops to debate a variety of key topics. They were unanimous in their view that if we are to meet the challenges from water regulator Ofwat to transform customer service and be innovative, then we need to be able to get more from the data we collect.

Following an engaging discussion on smart networks, it was agreed that Smart Networks are more than simply putting monitors in the network. To have a Smart Network requires analysis to inform better performance. The data collected can provide valuable insights that are being used to track trends and identify issues. During the afternoon sessions we debated and agreed that a more integrated delivery approach through collaboration and partnership was required by water companies, regulators, councils and highway authorities to ensure the successful implementation of the new Drainage and Wastewater Management Plans (DWMP’s).

We were also able to demonstrate a newly developed suite of tools we call WastewaternetTM. RPS has developed this software with industry input to help collate data from multiple models, surveys and operational incidents to analyse and view the results providing valuable insights such as pollution hot spots. Some of our clients are already using and benefiting from this software, and we’re working with them to develop additional modules to ensure WastewaternetTM continues to meet their needs.

Sound data management and the right analysis skills will be key to building industry resilience and the successful delivery of AMP7 - not only in terms of optimised investment, but transforming customer experience and protecting business reputation.

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