Aspirations drive innovation at Anglian Water

Water supply


The UK’s Anglian Water has set aspirational targets that provide goals for its innovation programme. Keith Hayward heard the company’s Head of Innovation, Steve Kaye, talk about some of the developments that will deliver improvements in leakage and supply network management.

The River Cam in Cambridge © shutterstock / Pawel Pajor
The River Cam in Cambridge. Anglian Water's trial is in nearby Newmarket. © shutterstock / Pawel Pajor

Anglian Water supplies water to more than four million people and handles the sewage from around six million people in the east of England. In terms of geography, it is the largest water and sewerage company in England and Wales. This is also a region where water resources are at a premium. Rainfall is on average around 600mm a year, two thirds of the national average, and the flat, low-lying area is important for the arable crops grown.

The number of properties in Anglian’s service area has risen by around 20% since 1989. ‘We actually put less water into supply now than we did then,’ comments Steve Kaye, Head of Innovation at Anglian. ‘We have thrown a lot of resource at that. We have worked really, really hard.’

On top of this, a 34% growth in the number of households is expected by 2031. The prospect of a continued rise in population plus any impacts of climate change, which may accentuate droughts, means these efforts are going to have to continue. ‘What we are trying to do now is build on our more traditional techniques, and that for me is what innovation is all about in this area,’ adds Kaye.

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