Wet Networks – Leakanomics
On Wednesday 17 July, Arup’s Fitzroy Street offices in London played host to the latest “Wet Networks” evening innovation and networking event supported by the Future Water Association, British Water, Water Industry Forum and the UK Water Partnership.
Each of the Wet Networks events carries a theme – and the hot topic for the latest gathering was ‘Leakanomics’ – discussing challenges around leakages in the water sector, and how innovation can help address them.
Over 100 water industry professionals gathered for a set of lively and informative presentations. And for the first time, the event was livestreamed globally – with an audience dialling in from locations ranging from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
Andrea Gysin, Head of Innovation at Thames Water, was the keynote speaker. Her talk focused on innovation and leakage, and how the wider impact of climate change – manifested in events like the UK “Beast from the East” in 2018 – directly leads to spikes in leakage events across the network. She went on to discuss Thames’ investment programme to tackle the issue and build resilience across its infrastructure, and the role that innovative solutions have to play in delivering ‘more for less’, as the industry is under ever-increasing scrutiny from OFWAT, the UK regulator.
There were then a number of ‘elevator pitch’ innovation presentations – offering innovative solutions to leaking ranging from drone survey methods for network leakage detection, through to map visualisations highlighting leakage points virtually based upon feeds from sensors.
Finally, proceedings were closed by a presentation from Joel McGlynn of Ocean Revival 2020 – a team fighting against the use of plastics, who are taking part in a world-record attempt to row in a plastic boat across the North Atlantic Ocean – raising funds and awareness for their cause. Read more about their activities here.
Siraj Tahir, who introduced the event, commented: “The latest Wet Networks was one of our busiest yet. There was lots of audience engagement and good questions asked during the sessions, leading to many positive conversations in the networking area following the main session. We’re already looking forward to the next event we’ll be hosting in Scotland, which will take place in early October.”