Latest UKWIR projects available for expression of interest

UKWIR (UK Water Industry Research) is now seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from expert partners or consortiums able to deliver targeted research projects tackling the biggest issues facing the water sector.

UKWIR is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates, manages, and delivers a strategic programme of research projects for water companies in the UK and Ireland.

The 21 research projects fall under UKWIR’s 11 Big Questions (BQs). UKWIR developed the BQs to address the industry’s key challenges, identified through extensive consultation. Topics include delivering sustainable wastewater services, zero uncontrolled sewer discharges, achieving zero customers in water poverty, as well as zero leakage and zero interruptions to supply.

“Our projects are informed by the input of water companies, academia, and other stakeholders. This ensures that the research is relevant to the needs of the industry and that the results can be effectively implemented,” said Steve Kaye, UKWIR chief executive.  

“UKWIR is a valuable resource for water companies in the UK and Ireland. It helps them to stay ahead of the curve, drive improvements for the environment and customers, and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Kaye added that UKWIR’s goal is to help water companies address pressing issues by funding research projects that develop new understanding, information, methods and techniques to improve the water industry’s efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and resilience.

Expressions of interest are open until midnight on Sunday 1 October 2023 for the following projects:

Big Question 1 – How do we halve freshwater abstraction in a sustainable way by 2050?

  • Environmental destination investigation framework and understanding the impact of climate change on river health/ecology

Big Question 2 – How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050?

  • Optimising the selection of pipes for renewal to reduce leakage
  • Use of models to determine the size and most likely location of customer side leakage
  • A review of the success of previous mains renewal methods and an overview of new techniques

Big Question 3 – How do we achieve zero interruptions to water supply by 2050?

  • Optimising and balancing short-term operational interventions with long-term capital maintenance to improve water supply interruptions
  • Understanding water infrastructure risks – major bursts, traffic volumes and the condition of road infrastructure

Big Question 4 – How do we achieve 100% compliance with drinking water standards at point of use by 2050? 

  • Fate and disposal of persistent and emerging contaminants captured during potable water treatment
  • Sustainable granular activated carbon (GAC) regeneration
  • Chemical-free water treatment and alternatives to traditional clarification processes
  • How will climate change affect raw water quality?
  • Detection and management of ingress into tanks

Big Question 5 – How will we deliver an environmentally sustainable wastewater service that meets customer and regulator expectations by 2050?

  • What process options are available for treatment of hazardous chemicals at point of entry to sewer?
  • Feasibility study on polluter pays monitoring and extended producer responsibility

Big Question 6 – How do we achieve zero uncontrolled discharges from sewers by 2050?

  • Understanding the possibilities of new approaches and standards from a data- rich sewer network
  • A holistic review of the impact of reducing the operation of sewer overflows on organic load to works, sludge production, carbon and greenhouse gas emissions
  • FOG charging – should foodservice wastewater charges reflect fats oils and grease (FOG) content?
  • Drainage Water Management Plans – drawing conclusions and defining best practice from cycle 1 delivery

Big Question 8 – How to continue creating positive value through asset management decision making?

  • Common definition and calculation of asset health
  • Criticality and value of data in supporting asset management decision- making

Big Question 11 – How do we maximise recovery of useful resources and achieve zero waste by 2050?

  • Response to National Bioresources Strategy – prioritisation of opportunities
  • Circular economy – water treatment sludges

These projects will deliver significant financial, environmental and societal benefits for the environment, water sector and customers.

For detailed information about each project, or to submit an expression of interest for a specific project, visit:




Steps to unlocking water data capability

The water sector has made good progress with digitisation – the capturing of data for storage and processing - writes Ruth Clarke, head of...

Steve Vick International’s innovative grout filling project for Wales & West Utilities in Aberdare

Steve Vick International's Contract Services team recently completed a challenging project in Aberdare, Wales, commissioned by Wales & West Utilities and Transport for Wales. ...

New AUMA actuators keep water in Welsh town’s taps flowing 

Water supplies to over 3,000 residents in the Welsh seaside town of Tywyn will continue to flow uninterrupted thanks to new state-of-the-art, remotely controlled...

New entry-level machine now available from Bucher Municipal

Bucher Municipal has announced a new addition to its sewer cleaner range. The new CityFlex C40 Viking unit provides an entry level product to...