Thursday, 9 March 2017

What’s next in the water industry?

Outdoor water tap

Much like water itself, the water industry is fast moving and unpredictable. In order to help you keep up with what’s going on, we’ve investigated the current state of affairs within the water industry, as well as what we predict will be happening in the coming months and years.

Market reform


The biggest news within the water industry, is the upcoming water market reform in the UK caused by the Water Act of 2014 (if you’ve a spare few hours, and a lot of patience, you can read the whole act here). The impact that this act will have upon the water market will be enormous. From April 2017, nearly every business water customer will be able to choose where they buy their water services from, affecting 1.2 million business customers, charities, and public sector organisations.

This will create the largest competitive water market in the world, with an estimated UK benefit of around £200 million. The supply sources will be stored on a central data system available online, called the Open Water. This is an impartial, customer facing, website, which will provide guidance to customers. The government state that this change in water provision will lead to lower bills, improved services, and will stimulate retail competition within the water industry – ensuring no one organisation will have a monopoly on water services.

Technology within the water industry

Water droplets
Increased use of technology within the water industry has been seeping (excuse the pun), into common usage within recent years, and this is only set to continue. Berkeley professor, David L. Sedlak, released Water 4.0 in 2015. This publication outlined the history of our drinking water systems and procedures, as well as outlining how these are set to be reinvented in the near future. This has been expanded on in this season’s Institute of Water Journal, which predicts increased digitalisation and networking of automation and monitoring systems within the drinking water industry, as well as the use of smart technology.

The most recent Water and Sewerage Journal (Issue 97), outlines how new technology is set to revolutionise drinking water disinfection. It outlines how computational fluid dynamics can be used to design disinfection units for drinking water. This should increase the effectiveness of disinfection methods such as ozonation, chlorination, and UV disinfection.


There are some exciting events, exhibitions, and conferences within the water industry occurring across 2017. We’ve picked out some of our favourites to share with you. One of the major events, is the Institute of Water’s annual conference, which will take place on the 15th and 16th of June at Chetham’s School of Music. The theme of this conference is, ‘Together we achieve more’, focusing on collaboration, and how to drive the industry forward during changing times. You can find out more about this conference here.

Marketforce are hosting Water 2017 on the 21st – 22nd of November, at the Hilton Tower Bridge, in London. This conference will discuss the future profitability of the water industry, and will consist of senior executives from water companies, and water regulators across the industry. You can find out more about Water 2017, here.

The 18th UK International Water Association Young Water Professionals conference will be occurring at the University of Bath, on the 10th – 12th of April. This will allow young water professionals to network, and share ideas, skills and best practices, fostering career progression, and cross field engagement. If you’re a young water professional, and fancy popping along, you can sign up for this event here.

Our resources

If you would like to investigate our links and sources further, you can find out lots more information at The Institute of Water, The Water and Sewerage Journal, The International Water Association Network, and the Open Water website.  

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