Big question

BQ8 - How to continue creating positive value through Asset Management decision making?



We are currently working on the approach to answering this Big Question, and more information will be given here soon.

The areas that this Big Question covers includes:

  • Evaluate if we are contributing harmful plastics to the water cycle
  • Establish their source and effective control measures to remove them

Once we understand where the gaps are, we will produce a route map – this is a plan as to how we will answer our Big Question.

The route map will have a number of key elements. At the top will be our Big Question and then we will look to see what Outcomes we need from the research programme -if we can achieve all these outcomes we can answer the Big Question. This is the stage we are currently at for this Big Question.

The next stage will be to think about the key benefits we want the research projects to deliver to meet these outcomes.

Following this, we will plan the research projects to help deliver the benefits.

UKWIR – the UK and Irish water industry’s research body – has commissioned the first study of its kind in the UK to develop a robust approach to sampling and detection of microplastic particles in the treated water cycle. This included accurately measuring the presence of microplastic particles in potable (drinking) water, treated wastewater and in the solid residues (sludge) produced by both the water and wastewater treatment processes. Please click here to view more information.


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BQ08 -D03 Criticality and value of data in supporting asset management decision making.

Project Status - Project Commenced

Category - Asset Management


The water industry delivers its products and services from a foundation of distributed assets.  Most of the asset base was adopted through privatisation and has been expanded on through further adoption, capital investment or maintenance requirements.  Many of the assets or subsequent improvements have been delivered regionally by different inhouse or contracted services.  Whilst the projects have been managed efficiently against engineering and delivery requirements, in some cases, less attention has been paid to the accuracy of data handover and subsequent capture through the life of the assets.

There is now a low level of trust in some data areas and no corrective measure has ever put in place a framework to identify with any degree of certainty what value is provided by which data.  Asset Managers speak anecdotally about what ‘good data’ is and how trust in some information would enable better decision making; in these conversations’ opinions vary across functions and seldom is monetary value placed on the data improvement programme or the benefits arising, making business case development difficult.


  • Asset management decision making
  • Regulatory reporting
  • Work planning
  • Procurement
  • Exclusion from emerging technologies
  • Lower business performance in all key areas (health and safety, innovation, water/waste control, environment, customer satisfaction, energy use, carbon accounting)


Development of a framework that allows data to be drawn in if identified as ‘useful to business outcomes’.  Provide a trust rating on the quality of the incoming data.  Assign a value to the data as a component of the decision process. Provide a further value on the accuracy of the decision that the data supports. Recommend data infilling techniques and their benefit to any decision.


  • Summary of key datasets shaping business decision making
  • A framework that:
    • Assigns a value to all data based on its influence in the decision-making process
    • Depicts all decision data and trust level scoring
    • Provides a decision success value with provided or infilled data
    • Allows for different valuations dependant on user (as the same dataset may be valued differently dependant on its use)
  • Develop a methodology for assigning monetised benefit for each data point – based on its influence on the decision making or improvement in accuracy/confidence in the decision that might be obtained.
  • Review of role requirements and processes for collecting, assuring, and modelling decision data



BQ08-C04 Common definition and calculation of Asset Health.

Project Status - Project Commenced

Category - Asset Management

There is some inconsistency across the industry in understanding the scope of the “asset health” concern raised by Ofwat and the National Infrastructure Commission. This project will develop an agreed set of definitions for relevant aspects of asset health from operational maintenance through to overall replacement rates. This will help to provide a broadly accepted approach to quantifying the scale of any asset health problem across the industry.

The project will also look to identify and address areas where a common approach may be required, such as nominal asset lives.

This project builds upon the 2020 UKWIR Asset Health measures project.