Published On 30/10/2023
The key messaging from the event was that this is both an exciting and challenging time to be in the water industry, and that there is an underlying need to improve collaboration and participation from all stakeholders. MP Rebecca Pow, Minister for Environmental Quality and Resilience, expressed her support for the positive change that the water sector is working towards.
The most pressing challenges facing the sector were prioritised. Five distinct themes emerged, namely: River Health and Catchment Management, Future Talent and Skills, Customer Engagement and Trust, Collaboration for the Water Innovation Strategy, and Data and Digital. These were underpinned by four cross-cutting challenges: collaboration, communication, resilience, and funding.
The topics were discussed in workshops to develop the starting point for a collaborative strategy which will be taken further by the co-hosting organisations in Joint Business development plan sessions later this year.
The evening closed with a concrete commitment, with all partners signing a statement of intent to collaborate to drive innovation in order to deliver a reliable supply of safe, clean water while protecting the environment and adapting to changing conditions. This is a formal and visible commitment to show that from now on we will be looking to plan in partnership to tackle the challenges facing the water sector.
The partners involved agreed to increase collaboration in order to best delineate the solutions to issues that face the sector and to agree and deliver what is required in the areas of: Thought Leadership; Research; Development; Innovation; and Application.
Collaboration will take the form of the following:
1. Sharing of work programmes in order to explore areas of mutual interest.
2. Coordination on ‘One Voice’ statements in areas of common interest.
3. Participation in an annual joint ‘water collaboration summit’ to share knowledge and experience and to agree and deliver programs of work.
4. Explore opportunities to promote UK water expertise internationally.
5. Connecting resources and sharing knowledge to review, update and build upon the UK 2050 Water Innovation Strategy to ensure it remains current and valid.
This collaboration will commence this December at our first joint Business Development session, where we’ll aim to integrate the responses to key challenges discussed at the Water Industry Summit into each organisation’s Development Plans. We hope to help the UK water sector deliver a reliable supply of safe, clean water while protecting the environment and adapting to changing conditions.