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Utility engagement sought on real-time water monitoring

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The first meeting of British Water’s new focus group on real-time monitoring was extremely well attended.

British Water is calling on water companies to share their real-time monitoring needs with a new focus group in preparation for the next five-year Asset Management Plan (AMP). The trade association has added a Real-Time Monitoring Focus Group to its portfolio of technical forums and is encouraging the utilities to engage directly with the supply chain.

Group convenor Joanna Kelsey, who is also principal consultant at Stantec, said water utilities in England and Wales are facing key regulatory challenges in AMP7 (2020-25) and need new approaches.

“Ofwat has placed some key challenges on the utilities in terms of customer service, resilience, innovation and affordability,” she said. “Rather than using heavy capital investment to meet those targets, utilities have to find better ways to use existing assets.

“Real-time monitoring gives water companies immediate information about how their assets are performing and what’s happening in the network or at the treatment works. It makes them more resilient to heavy rainfall and climate change, for example.

“As real-time sensors and monitors become routinely available, there is a recognition that the industry needs to work together to get a broad view of what the needs of the water companies are and how they can be best met. This makes it an exciting time for the sector and the perfect time for the end-user utilities, consultancies and technology developers to come together to share knowledge.”

British Water technical manager Mar Batista said: “British Water’s portfolio of technology focus groups is strengthening all the time. Interest in the new Real-Time Monitoring Focus Group is already very strong and the first meeting, which took place last month, was over-subscribed.

“We initially surveyed members of British Water’s Technical Forum to find out which areas needed extra focus and real-time monitoring came out on top. We now have a total of seven focus groups where members can share specialist knowledge, make new connections.”

The next Real-Time Monitoring Focus Group meeting is in London on 9 May 2018 and utilities wishing to take part should email mar.batista@britishwater.co.uk. To find out more about British Water focus groups, visit www.britishwater.co.uk/focus-groups.aspx

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