Third annual conference sparks radical collaboration

Third annual conference sparks radical collaboration

Published On 08/12/2022

Speakers from across utilities, the supply chain communities, regulators and academia addressed the ways research and innovation can transform the water sector at UKWIR’s third-annual conference. The event, in collaboration with Spring - the water sector’s innovation centre of excellence - took place on 4 October 2022 in London. 

Chair Niki Roach, honorary vice president of the Chartered  Institution of Water & Environmental Management, opened the conference by exploring how transformational research, innovation and radical collaboration can “turbo charge” a sector facing unprecedented challenges. 

“The discussion feels like it’s maturing all the time and it’s clear there is an appetite for even more radical collaboration,” said Roach. 

“We need to focus on bringing new voices into the sector if we want to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Avoiding duplication of effort is a challenge, but mechanisms such as Spring and UKWIR are leading the effort to close that gap. Finally, it’s important to remember the vital role research and development plays in the innovation pipeline.”

Speakers at the event included Harry Armstrong, director of regulatory policy at Ofwat, Bob Taylor, chief executive of Portsmouth Water, Ezechi Britton, co-founder and chief executive of Code Untapped and Dr Tom Arnot, Co-director of the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath. Discussions were focused on the most pressing issues facing the industry, including affordability for customers, encouraging new voices into the sector, funding, regulation, ensuring the health of rivers and tackling leakage.

As well as an excellent line-up of speakers and panellists, we were also joined by a number of PhD students to share the exciting work they are doing in collaboration with UKWIR. 

“The extraordinary range of perspectives provided some fantastic insights and fascinating topical debates and showed this is a sector not only willing to transform but one that is hungry for change and ready for action,” reflected chief executive Steve Kaye. 

To find out more about the conference, please visit: