A new report published earlier this year, by PWC and Yorkshire Water, entitled ‘The water and wastewater sectors; the long view’ looks at six scenarios which could influence the future of the water industry over the coming 20-50 years, and beyond.
The report looks that influence of climate change, population increase, infrastructure pressures, econonic delivery and technological advances.
To respond effectively to future populations, the report suggests, water companies will need to change their corporate cultures and challenges for the sector, it predicts will include:
- Competing effectively in new markets.
- Addressing resilience and environmental quality at a price customers can afford.
- How community water could ease pressure on networks and resources.
- Collaborating effectively with other organisations.
- Embracing digital customer service.
- Becoming more innovative and generating low carbon solutions to key challenges.
Collaboration is a theme running through the report; "Accepting change can’t be done alone. Desired outcomes will need to be negotiated through joint working with external parties to generate sustainable improvements to the water environment."
The report raises interesting scenarios such as; the emergence of ‘last mile’ and community water companies which could partner with developers to deliver non-portable water to new buildings. Activities could include rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling, porous paving and sustainable drainage. Water collection could have its own environmental credit system and be linked to BREEAM/Passivhaus standards to incentivite local water optimisation.
It’s a fascinating idea and just one of six areas the report explores for the future development of the water industry.