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  • by Karma Loveday

Water industry alliance publishes plan for UK to exploit digital water opportunities

The UK Water Partnership (UKWP), a leading alliance of UK water industry stakeholders, has launched a 10-point action plan to help ensure that UK plc wins its share of the estimated $30 billion market created by the digital revolution sweeping through the global water economy.

In a draft white paper out for consultation until 28 February – Digital Water: understanding the commercial opportunities for UK plc – UKWP recommended:

1. Focusing Digital Water research funding on the primary areas of commercial opportunity for the UK – essentially linking national funding to drive national economic outcomes.

2. Establishing mechanisms to facilitate collaboration across the digital water economy, aligned with national ambitions – involving a concerted effort across the water sector including research bodies, innovation agencies, supply chain organisations and customer end users.

3. Promoting the adoption of the National Infrastructure Commission’s report Data for the public good and The Gemini principles from the Centre for Digital Built Britain – enabling the water sector to take full advantage of digital innovation.

4. Promoting a new water sector Data Information Task Force – to enable water sector organisations to adopt a common national approach to data capture and management.

5. Building a web-based user-friendly register of UK Digital Water supply chain companies, enabling potential customers to readily understand what the UK has to offer.

6. Producing a compelling briefing pack on UK Digital Water capability, available for DIT staff and others to showcase overseas.

7. Ensuring the UK’s voice is heard in a global market – a proactive Digital Water customer engagement campaign devised and driven by UK water economy stakeholders.

8. Promoting collaboration between organisations in the UK and overseas, who have procured UK Digital Water products and services, to showcase the UK’s capability.

9. Adopting a strategic approach to exploiting UK Digital Water capability, delivered as a coherent, integrated and long-term programme of activities – rather than as a one-off exercise.

10. Establishing a mechanism to track sales of UK digital products and services at both domestic and international level – generating insight to enable performance.

The white paper defined Digital Water as extending beyond traditional water supply services to include agriculture, industry and the economy as a whole. It included: exploiting data to create enhanced actionable insight, which in turn leads to better decision making; employing digital insight to improve business process performance by making individual steps more efficient, eliminating steps, or reconfiguring a business process as a whole; utilising digital techniques to enable the creation of new markets, and hence the disruption of existing markets; and enabling the creation of entirely new value adding products or services.

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