Water Efficiency Technology Portal homepage

Project REDUCED, a Market Improvement Fund project from Isle Utilities, has launched a free Water Efficiency Technology Portal which gives trading parties access to a suite of water efficiency solutions to offer customers. At the February User Forum, we shared that the portal is now available to wholesalers as well as retailers, to enable greater collaboration and use of the tool.

We spoke to Caroline Wadsworth, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Isle Utilities, to find out more about the platform and how trading parties can get involved:

 

What made you want to create a water efficiency technology portal?

"Many wholesalers are forecasting supply deficits and increasing non-household customer water efficiency could limit the requirement for increased water treatment or the need to identify and build new water resources.

We have a plethora of emerging solutions at our fingertips, the challenge is to assess, select and embed them into processes and systems to ensure the benefits are realised. The portal is an enduring tool that enables technology comparison without underminig completition, by providing equal access to a growing body of technologies that meet the water efficiency needs of business customers. In turn, we hope this levelling of the playing field will free up capacity within retailers to focus on adding value to their existing services or developing new services for their business customers.

By utilising Isle Utilities’ technical expertise, more complex solutions can be sought which will deliver more sustainable water efficiency gains and facilitate a step change in the level of collaboration between retailers and business customers; create an open approach to learning and innovation sharing; accelerate the adoption rate of solutions and ensure climate change is at the heart of all decisions made. The portal allows retailers, who may currently only be offering basic water efficiency solutions, access to a wider pool of solutions to offer their business customers, while significantly reducing the hurdle for retailers that currently do not offer these services to develop a compelling competitive offering. 

The solution types sought in this project go well beyond business as usual, addressing issues such as:

  • Water re-use options (including contaminant removal steps prior to re-use)
  • Leak detection in on-site operational pipes of varying material types
  • Condensate recovery and re-use
  • Pipe cleaning technologies (to facilitate the move away from the water intensive jet washing etc.)
  • Heat recovery from waste waters to minimise cooling water losses etc.

There are no other independent online portals facilitating access to independently reviewed technologies, allowing retailers to have confidence in the solutions listed. Business customer that are better able to manage their operational water efficiencies will benefit retailers through a more engaged customer base, better customer relationships, reduced customer water demand, reduced energy consumption, reduced chemical usage, reduced asset replacement/maintenance requirements, greater system capacity and great system resilience."

How can retailers get involved?

"Retailers can register for Portal access via the portal home page. Once registered they can request a call with an Isle team member to talk through their needs and explore how we can help.

In addition to supporting retailers to conduct customer needs assessments, we can carry out high level horizon scans and help facilitate technology trials. All engagement activities with Isle will remain confidential, with only the resulting technologies identified being made available to all through the portal (however, this will be without  specific application context covered in the confidential needs discussions).

We’re also seeking feedback on the functionality of the portal, so please get in touch with George Young (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have any questions or suggestions for improvements.

We offered the Steering Group members a free, confidential Innovation Maturity Assessment when the project first began – if this is of interest to other retailers, please get in touch."

How can developers of water efficiency solutions submit their technologies for inclusion? 

"Technology developers should contact George to discuss their solution and how they can be involved in the portal. Portal involvement can be through the inclusion of their product in the retrofit or industrial portal section, or for those technology developers that are seeking a partnership to help verify the efficiency of their solution, the 'Trial opportunities' section of the portal is a fantastic opportunity to engage retailers and their customers."

How do you foresee this being used in the future? 

"The portal has huge potential if it is engaged with as was intended. We are at a turning point in the UK whereby new developments (both non-household and domestic) are being refused planning permission because there isn’t sufficient water in a region to supply the new buildings and processes. This is a frightening position for a seemingly wet country to be in, however, it also means retailer business development opportunities will be limited by the fact that there is no water to sell onto to new or expanding non-household customers.

If the portal is used effectively, retailers could be helping to rebalance water availability in water scarce areas, thus enabling new developments to move ahead and new customers to come on board.

As we strive for water neutrality, market trading systems for water neutrality credits are in development (see Affinity Water’s Project Zero as an example) which will require access to pre-assessed solutions for rapid deployment  - in the future, the portal could play a key role in supporting this type of essential market development."

How much longer is the project running for and what are the next key milestones? What do you like to see from the market as this progresses? 

"The project runs until the end of October 2024 in its current form, meaning that we have eight months left to secure as many positive impacts as possible. This needs retailers to engage with us and tell us what their customers needs are, or to ask us to help them uncover their customers' needs. The more they engage, the greater the benefits they can reap!"

A link to the portal can be found here, and on the project page. If you would like a log in, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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