The recent UK Storm Eleanor caused 15 areas in the UK to have severe flood warnings. Even this excessive rainfall has not helped to fill up the reservoirs in the south-east of England which will be facing a drought this summer.
The extremely dry weather and below average rainfall has resulted in river flows being below the standard level which directly affects the businesses and domestic households in this area. The temporary water restrictions such as hosepipe bans which we saw in 2012 may possibly be introduced if rainfall does not increase.
Many water efficiency campaigns have been launched by water companies and organisations to encourage both businesses and domestic customers to use water efficiently. But, how and who measures the result and the effectiveness of it?
Turn off the tap while brushing, installing a water meter, and implement water efficiency technology will help but not solve the drought problem on its own.
More importantly, the amount of water leaked each day is 3,123 million litres, a whopping 1,139,895 million litres per year. This means 20% of clean water is wasted on water journeys before it reaches and serves the end customer.
The focus on leak detection requires transformative innovation in the water industry. New technologies such as satellite remote sensing leak detection (Utilis) need to be utilised and supported. Funding schemes to support investments in innovations across the water sector, similar to the Government’s focus on energy innovation and funding, as part of the clean growth strategy, need to be implemented.
Adopting water conservation methods and technologies that support water preservation and management is an area of increased priority. By investing in such technologies and systems now, communities can significantly reduce consumption and ease the strain on our nation’s water supplies.
The successful drivers of innovation in the water industry are shown to include: a supportive culture at the water utility; a regulatory regime that allows or even promotes innovation; the financial ability to undertake research and implement improvements; and crucially, the backing of Government and the public.
At present time, the water industry, under either the publicly managed or the privately -owned water utility models, lacks these drivers and is not yet aligned for transformative innovation.