Yorkshire Water held its first solveIT hackathon event to discover “technology-led and data driven” opportunities which could help the company predict potential flooding and pollution incidents.

The water company is on a drive to prevent such issues, which could have a “substantial impact on operational performance” as it looks to become a top performer in the sector.

It has set itself a target to reduce internal sewer flooding by 70 per cent and pollution incidents by 40 per cent.

The hackathon, organised by +Add Strategy, was attended by 53 people from 13 companies at the Digital Catapult Centre in Bradford.

Attendees were challenged to identify relationships from available data sets to allow Yorkshire Water to prioritise control room alarms and provide information to make the right intervention.

Claire Green, project manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Proactive alarms play a key role in this which is why we are working with the best minds in the business to help us with this.”

The event included three competitions across two days, with Mott MacDonald awarded a prize for prioritising event alarms. The team from 1Spatial Ltd produced the best entry for a demonstrated new approach to integrated alarms and Invenio Systems won the bonus challenge for the highest calibre model for “best” location of sensors.

Green described the event as a “huge success” and said Yorkshire Water will arrange follow up discussions about the ideas and analytical tools presented at the hackathon to determine if it should take any to a “proof of concept stage”.

To help reach its sewer flooding reduction target, Yorkshire Water launched a campaign last month to build awareness of the problems caused by flushing wet wipes.

It said it is called out to more than 30,000 sewer blockages every year, at a cost of £2.4 million, with 40 per cent of incidents caused by wipes which contain plastic and do not break down.

A live hackathon will be held at the NEC in Birmingham as part of Utility Week Live next month.