Water networks

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Vodafone's head of innovation Danny Kelly tells Utility Week about its new software platform that he says will allow water companies to combine data from both new hardware and legacy assets to create smarter networks.
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NI Water has urged government to back its business plans that include opportunities for other stakeholders to utilise its infrastructure and resources to achieve shared climate change mitigation goals.
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The challenge of scaling up the smart meter roll-out is shared across gas, water and electricity companies. As the panel debate and workshop at the Utility Week Live Summit discussed, smart meters prepare consumers for the changes to come on the net zero journey. But is there are also a case for using the energy sector's new dual band communications network for smart water meters too? Read on to hear more about delegates' views.
Analysis
Utility Week hears initial thoughts from the water sector on the first draft of Defra’s strategic policy statement to Ofwat, with commentators warning that it lacks the detail required to trigger the investment needed at PR24 if the government is serious about tackling river pollution and decarbonisation.
Analysis
Portsmouth has begun a smart meter trial ahead of a wider rollout during AMP8. Water efficiency manager Lianne Riggs told Utility Week customers are less interested in saving money because bills are low but environmental messages do resonate.
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Latest in Water networks

Ofwat has confirmed it will continue to provide ring-fenced funding for further development of four strategic regional water resource projects in England following their assessment by the Regulators Alliance for Progressing Infrastructure Development (RAPID). The regulator has issued its final decisions for the accelerated gate two of RAPID’s four gate development process for large-scale strategic schemes to provide resilient water supplies to drier parts of the country.
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The water sector has called for reforms to regulation to enable it to meet the challenges of supplying water in the face of climate change, population growth and aging infrastructure. Water UK chief executive Christine McGourty said: “Without urgent action there is a risk future generations will simply not have enough of this precious resource to go around.”
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The government has declared its support for further investment in sewerage systems in England and Wales in its response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s damning report on water quality in rivers. However, the committee's recommendations to address pollution from agriculture and homebuilding, which both play a significant role in preventing rivers from achieving good ecological status, were not accepted.
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Despite many people saying they are aware of the impact their household water habits can have on the environment, far fewer understand the specific effects and fewer still have modified their behaviour to benefit the environment. That is according to research by CCW that has coincided with the launch of Water's Worth Saving campaign coordinated by Water UK.
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Ofwat has proposed a new approach to monitoring and regulating operational resilience as it takes a longer-term view of sector-wide challenges. The regulator said this will include asking water companies to report on a series of new measures covering asset health, unplanned maintenance and equipment failures that will eventually be consolidated into an “integrated monitoring framework”.
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Welsh Water, Northumbrian, Severn Trent, Anglian and Southern are among the winners of innovation funding from Ofwat's Breakthrough Challenge, to develop and implement schemes that address common water sector challenges, including leakage and driving down harmful emissions from wastewater treatment.
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Consumer research shows water companies are increasingly being seen as the primary culprits when it comes to river pollution, yet public awareness of the work they are doing to mitigate these impacts is actually dropping. Ruth Williams asks why the water sector has struggled to make its voice heard.
Comment
Untreated sewage has become seen by the public as the biggest cause of river pollution ahead of other contributors such as litter, fly-tipping and commercial waste, according to a new report by CCW. The consumer watchdog said its research found an increasing public awareness of the issue from media reports and urged sewerage companies to do more to inform billpayers what they are doing to address the problem.
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The second piece of collaborative work from Ofwat and CCW has revealed billpayer priorities that the regulator said would inform outcome delivery incentives for the 2024 price review. Consumers were most concerned about issues that impact them directly, and wider factors that will affect them sooner rather than further in the future.
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Northumbrian Water has reduced leakage by 25% in parts of Newcastle and Dagenham where it has been trialling the use of digital twins to manage demand. The prediction model used existing data from the company’s network together with pressure sensors to identify where leaks occur in two of the highest leakage areas in Northumbrian’s network.
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Yorkshire Water is beginning the UK's first pilot to use water supply pipes to carry fibre broadband cables to connect rural areas with superfast broadband. The Drinking Water Inspectorate approved the use of the technology after ensuring it would not impact the quality or safety for customers.
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While most water customers are satisfied with the services from their supplier and sewerage companies, far fewer trust the sector to act in the best interest of communities or the environment, according to a new survey from Ofwat and CCW. The poll also suggested customers are more concerned with stopping sewage from entering water bodies, fixing leaks and preventing water shortages than keeping bills down or reducing carbon emissions.
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