Meeting water sector challenges

Posted: Wednesday 27th January 2016

The challenges faced by the water sector are being met head on by the Future Water Association (FWA) as they announce a formal partnership with the Sheffield Water Centre at the University of Sheffield.

Both organisations have a clear goal of futureproofing the sector with innovative thinking and practical solutions and creating a formal partnership is the logical way forward to not only benefit the Future Water Associations’ members, but the water sector as whole.

Sheffield’s highly collaborative and innovative approach to meeting the challenges faced by the water sector over the coming years made them an obvious partner for the Future Water Association who are themselves dedicated to promoting innovation within the supply Chain. Alastair Moseley, Chair of the Association’s ‘Innovation Steering Group’ said “the leadership demonstrated by Sheffield in promotion of innovation and R&D in our sector led us to the firm conclusion that they were an organisation that we should be working with. Their recent grant award of £3.9m from the EPSRC for the development the TWENTY65 research consortium involving 6 universities and 26 companies further demonstrates their leading position in driving the future development of our sector.”

As part of this collaboration, the 120+ member companies of the Future Water Association will have the opportunity to participate in ‘Thought Leadership Clubs’. Launched in March 2015, these are multi-disciplinary consortiums working with innovators from a variety of industries and perspectives to find novel solutions for water challenges. This partnership will allow members to work closely with researchers and take advantage of the R&D facilities in Sheffield, an exciting opportunity as the Water Centre has ambitious plans to develop and extend these facilities to include a new pipe infrastructure facility comprising a containment chamber in which infrastructure elements (water pipes, sewer pipes/chambers) and their interaction with natural artefacts such as soil layers and voids can be studied.

Martyn Hopkinson, Chairman of the Future Water Association, commented “with the future challenges faced by our industry ever pressing, all stakeholders need to be even more innovative in their approach. The recent major flooding events have exacerbated these challenges and the opportunity for collaboration with academia, water companies and the supply chain is something the Future Water Association will embrace on behalf of our members and for the benefit of society as we seek to protect our most valuable resource for future generations.”

Professor Joby Boxall, University of Sheffield, stated “TWENTY65 is an exciting opportunity to take a radical look at what urban water systems could and should be. Working closely across the water sector will be key to generating a genuine shared vision for this”. Dr Vanessa Speight, University of Sheffield, added “we are excited to partner with the Future Water Association and their members to grow our collaboration with the water industry supply chain. These companies are the implementers of innovation and therefore are vital players in transforming our water systems to meet future challenges”.

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