10 leading ideas have been given the green light to move onto the next stage of planning after being developed at the industry first collaborative event Innovate East, held by Anglian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water in September.


The event saw thousands of people from different countries and across a variety of industries come together to discuss, learn and develop innovative ideas for the water industry.


There were four key themes at the event; natural capital, social purpose, digital twins and leakage which were discussed at different hackathons and sprints across the three days. At the end of the event a £100,000 funding pot was available for the best ideas to be put into practice in the real world.


Shaunna Berendsen, Head of Innovation Engagement at Anglian Water said, “We were amazed at the number of fantastic ideas which were created at Innovate East. The enthusiasm and knowledge from those attending the event was inspiring and we were overwhelmed by at the standard of the proposals.”


In total 15 proposals were submitted for consideration for funding. Seven projects have been awarded funding, which means they have the green light to proceed with their ideas due to their innovative and exciting concepts. The seven chosen are:

  • Water Trading and WAT-CH: Developing a platform and the processes to enable all parties involved in the water cycle to rapidly trade water and best protect the environment whilst meeting the needs of all stakeholders.
  • DMA DNA: Utilising data in novel ways to drive more granular understanding of the difference between leakage and usage in different District Metering Areas.
  • Mobileye: using image recognition and algorithms to detect above ground assets and features which then result in better understanding of those underground.
  • The ARK and Benedict projects: ARK creating a hub of resources for communities to pull on during extreme weather events / Benedict project enabling homeless people into employment work via the joint support of utilities, charities and support agencies
  • Twinder: Enabling agencies with digital twins to share data and avoid duplication of work.
  • Blockage Free Sewers and Green Communities: Incentivising food establishments to keep it clear through an accreditation scheme demonstrating their actions aiding the environment – and potentially turning their waste oil into biodiesel
  • Blue Dolphin:  Mobile app and website to inform the public what skills are involved in the work taking place locally to them, sparking ideas for routes into the industry.


Following the initial allocation, the team decided that three additional projects were too good that they should also be given funding to proceed. Funds from outside of the original allocation were granted to the following:


·  Resilience asset performance – extreme weather: Using latest science to compare correlations with climate change projections to enable teams to provide an indication of how these links might change in the future and the impact they will have on water- industry assets


·  Eddy – digital water assistant: Utilising Internet of Things water quality sensors to drive a digital twin of the water network, mapping and protecting water quality in near real time.


·   Temporary satellite stores: Creation of temporary ‘store units’ to house items such as barriers, salts and bottled water, assisting crews in preparation for extreme weather events to ensure customer service levels are maintained throughout.


Angela MacOscar, Head of Innovation at Northumbrian Water said, “We are delighted that we have been able to give the green light to three additional projects. Every one of the 15 submitted were fantastic and choosing between them was incredibly difficult. We are excited to see the next stages of each of the 10 chosen ideas.”


The chosen projects were put to a panel of people from both Anglian Water’s Future Leaders Board and Northumbrian’s Innovation Ambassadors. The decision of which ideas were given the green light was that of the groups from both water companies.


The Future Leaders Board at Anglian Water consists of a group of innovative ambassadors who are shaping the future of the company; developing plans and gaining board experience. The Innovation Ambassador groups from Northumbrian/Essex & Suffolk Water are specialists or enthusiasts within different directorates who meet to discuss funding and progress of innovation within the business. They work as representatives of their departments where they take ideas or submissions in to the group, and take shared learning, potential solutions or ideas back into their area of expertise.


Innovate East took place at Trinity Park Showground, Ipswich on the 10-12 of September.