WRc shares details of new collaborative research programme

January 27, 2022

RSK business Water Research Centre (WRc) is thrilled to announce the details of a new collaborative research programme on behalf of seven UK water and sewerage companies that will deliver critical insight into the long-term requirements to reduce leakage by 50% from current levels by 2050 and the role new water networks need to play in this.

The project, called “Delivering Ultra Low Loss Networks”, will change practices and approaches to laying new water networks and will provide robust and credible evidence on the long-term costs, benefits and risks associated with leakage from new networks.

Glen Mountfort, WRc’s technical director for the study, explained: “There are long-term challenges associated with reducing leakage in the UK and Eire. The laying of new networks, whether associated with population growth, new development or the rehabilitation of existing networks, is one of the key long-term tools that will be required to achieve National Infrastructure Commission recommendations.”

Companies taking part in the project are Thames Water, United Utilities, Southern Water, Severn Trent Water, Welsh Water, South West Water and Anglian Water.

John Birkhead, Water Demand Strategy Manager at United Utilities, added, “We’re very excited to be working with WRc on this project. Between 2020 and 2025, we have committed to reducing leakage by 15% and we see research projects such as this to be absolutely critical in supporting us to deliver our leakage reduction ambitions in the longer term.”

William Betts, Strategy Manager at Thames Water, said the project will help assess the long-term costs, benefits and risks associated with rehabilitating the network and installing new assets to enable development. “Obtaining low-leak networks for the future is key to achieving our long-term leakage reduction goals,” he commented.

In addition, Anglian Water’s Leakage Data Manager David Jacobs said his company was delighted to be working with WRc “to further develop our knowledge of our water network performance. This project will give us insight into how newer sections of the water network perform over time and inform our future leakage management strategies and water mains installation policies and practices.”

Phil Tapping, Regional Demand Manager of Wholesale Water Services at Southern Water, said, “Southern Water has been working with WRc for a number of years and they have provided us with detailed data analysis and technical support on a number of important schemes. We are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this project with them, the results of which will assist in our future planning and strategies to reduce leakage and meet our very challenging targets.”

And Paul Taylor, Leakage Strategy Manager at Severn Trent Water, said his company is enthusiastic that WRc is bringing its expertise to this project and to water companies. “In order to deliver huge leakage reductions in the coming years, it is critical that we create networks that don’t leak. This project will contribute to that,” he explained.

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