A revolutionary leakage fix, an asset life extender and a self-powered smart meter, are among some of the exciting and potentially industry-changing ideas to come out of Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festival 2022.

Two months have passed since Northumbrian Water hosted its sixth annual Innovation Festival and over 30 ideas developed during the sprints, hacks and dashes at the revolutionary event are already starting to form.

Over 2,000 innovators from across the globe, including Australia, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Nigeria and Poland, flocked to Newcastle Racecourse back in July to take part in the world’s only water industry dedicated festival and got involved in solving huge problems such as water scarcity and cyber security.

One of the innovations to come from this year’s festival, named ‘No Dig’, was developed during the event and since July has already seen a number of successful trials take place. The clever piece of technology, which is the first of its kind, is made of water, gel and minerals and is injected into pipes that are leaking in order to avoid excavation, road closures and impact to water supplies.

Another project progressing from the event at pace is ‘Universally Smart’. This team behind it are looking at how smart metering can be hyper-personalised to individual customer needs in order to provide the best possible customer service. As it progresses forward, this will look at incorporating a ‘smart-safe’ button so customers in a state of emergency can raise an alarm.

The HMS Sewer project, which is in collaboration with Yorkshire Water, will look at how sewage and drainage systems can be mapped efficiently so that repairs and excavations can be carried out more accurately. A pilot of this is set to be carried out soon on the Yorkshire/North East border.

As well as these three, other projects to come out of the festival and to keep an eye out for include:  

  • Project Greenscape - A project around regenerative farming, looking at how to better support delivery of biodiversity.
  • Prescription Technology - New approaches to data collection and measurement to help us manage the health of our assets, including our nature-based assets.
  • Challenge 22 - A programme working across the sector that would integrate with the school curriculum, delivering new approaches to promote careers in the industry for a diverse range of students, creating long-lasting relationships and fresh routes into job opportunities.

Angela MacOscar, Head of Innovation at Northumbrian Water, said: “I am incredibly optimistic about all the fantastic projects that are starting to emerge from this year’s festival.

“The quality and size of the projects coming out this year were bigger and more impactful in the face of all the challenges we have.

“These projects, especially No Dig, are potentially going to revolutionise and transform the way our industry works.

“During the festival, the innovators worked hard – but now they will have to work even harder to bring their concepts to life. We are already starting to see examples of this and I can’t wait to see the impact this has on our customers, who really are at the heart of everything we do.”

To find out more about the Innovation Festival, visit www.innovationfestival.org.