Water treatment

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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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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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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.
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Thames Water has set out plans to go beyond carbon net-zero goals with an ambition to enter carbon neutrality by 2040. The routemap highlights wastewater treatment as the area most in need of attention, but with opportunities included.
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South Staffs has secured government funding of £10 million under the Green Recovery Challenge that enabled it to upgrade its largest water treatment plant to a ceramic filtration system that will save around 1,000 tonnes carbon annually. The company plans to invest around £55 million upgrading two treatment works during AMP7.
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Anglian is tendering for partners under the direct procurement for customers (DPC) scheme to deliver a £100 million treatment plant as part of its transfer project to move water from north to south
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Anglian Water has set out a twin-track approach to reaching net-zero emissions by 2030, including a “stretch” pathway that shows what could be achieved with additional funding and policy levers.
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The Environment Agency has proposed allowing water companies up to 25 years to deliver on environmental programmes and extending the timeframe for the Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP) from five to ten years.
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Ofwat’s final decision on extra investment in green recovery schemes on top of the PR19 packages has seen the total fall from £850 million in May’s draft announcement to £793 million today. This is as a result of Thames Water – one of the five companies to submit green recovery plans – reducing the size of its smart metering programme after the regulator cast doubt on its deliverability.
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Yorkshire has set its targets for reaching net zero by 2030 including electrifying all cars and vans as well as rolling out zero-emission tankers and trucks. Partnerships will be key to the plans and cutting carbon will be made central to every business decision.
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Water UK's director of policy Stuart Colville tells Utility Week the government needs to match the water sector's ambition to meet demand management goals and to improve sewerage systems
Analysis
United Utilities and conservation charity RSPB have formalised a partnership to restore and enhance catchments following a 10-year pilot in the North West. The groups hope to tap into green finance initiatives to fund land management projects
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SES Water has reported missing its target to lower per capita consumption (PCC) due to “soaring” use in lockdown. However, leakage targets were met and efforts to increase communications with its vulnerable billpayers led to 90 per cent feeling supported.
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Thames Water has set up a fast-track pollution reporting system for members of the public to report incidents. The company said it would send a dedicated team to assess the situation within two hours.
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The UK water utilities industry is under greater stress than at any other time in its history. It’s not just about external forces such as changes in usage trends and climate change as well as scarcity and unpredictability of supply. It’s also partly because most of our water infrastructure was designed and built in the Victorian era, if not earlier (the world’s first city-level water transfer project, completed in 1613, remains one of London’s main water resources). And of course we cannot forget the huge drive towards digital transformation.
Market insight
The highly anticipated news that Defra was introducing mandatory water efficiency labels was universally welcomed by the water industry, but what will it actually achieve? Utility Week speaks to the sector about the decision not to be equally ambitious on building regulations.
Analysis
SES has set out what it calls a demand-led approach to cutting 2,400 tonnes of carbon each year by 2030. This will include engagement with customers and stakeholders to reduce the amount of water that needs abstracting, treating and pumping as well as efforts to phase out fossil fuels in the coming decade.
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