WRc launches global technology search and review

June 29, 2021

Water Research Centre (WRc), an RSK group company, is working on a new and exciting project with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR). The project will “examine in detail the potential for transferring minimal-excavation methods from outside the sector to the water industry”. It is envisaged that the project will find solutions to reduce the disruption from excavations associated with leakage and the unintentional damage these can cause to nearby assets.

The UK water industry needs to significantly reduce leakage from water pipes to balance supply and demand in the future and to reduce the sector’s impacts on the environment. Leaks need to be repaired safely and efficiently but the necessary excavations involved in making these repairs cause challenges. The current methods used to excavate buried pipes are slow and disruptive. They are labour-intensive and can lead to unintentional damage to the surrounding area. There is the potential to transfer minimal-excavation methods from other sectors to help mitigate this problem, which will hopefully create more efficient and less disruptive processes.

The project, which is to be delivered by WRc with the support of gas distribution company SGN and UKWIR-member water companies, aims to “identify potential technologies and processes as well as research worldwide” to help solve the problem of disruptive excavation techniques. Taking a far-reaching approach, research will consider “all aspects from pre-excavation asset location through to reinstatement” with the aim of setting out a “clear route map to overcome the associated challenges, adopt new processes and meet challenging leakage targets while also reducing disruption to customers”.

WRc, as the lead contractor for the project commissioned by UKWIR, is currently conducting a global search and review of the available technology. WRc is “keen to speak to anyone who has technologies, processes, ideas or opinions on this subject area” and invites enquiries from interested parties who would like more information or to propose ideas.

Leo Carswell, Principal Consultant at WRc, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who might have a solution that has been developed with a different sector or even for a different purpose to come forward and talk to us – it’s an opportunity to open up new markets and make a difference to society through reduced disruption on our roads and pavements as well as delivering enormous health, safety and well-being benefits.”

If you would like to find out more about the project or have something to contribute, please contact the WRc project team at technology@wrcgroup.com.