Upcoming UKWIR conference in London, UK aims to rebuild water sector trust with R&D

Registrations are now open for the UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) fourth annual conference, which will be held in London, UK on 30 Nov 2023.

The event will address the water challenges of the 21st century with speakers from across water companies, regulators, the water media and supply chain such as Helen Wakeham, deputy director of water quality, groundwater and contaminated land at the Environment Agency; Colin Skellett, CEO of Wessex Water, and Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, who brings experiences from outside the water sector.

Niki Roach, vice-president of CIWEM, is returning as conference chair

The confirmed speakers and panellists include Thomas Bridgewater, head of strategic asset management and innovation, Affinity Water; Jon Rathjen, deputy director, water policy and climate change and energy directorate operation, Scottish Government, and Mariëlle Zouwen, deputy director and management team, KWR Water Research Institute.

This year’s session themes will be explored in presentations and panel discussions about creating a better world for customers, opportunities for strategic partnerships, tackling big challenges and digital transformation.

A recent Ofwat survey about how people view their water company and their perceptions of the water sector showed that trust in the water sector in England and Wales has declined, with customers expressing concerns about untreated sewage, drought warnings, and leakage.

Communication and transparency from water companies are needed to rebuild trust and improve outcomes for customers and the environment, according to the water services regulation authority in the UK. The conference will aim to change the narrative about the water and wastewater sector.

“Conferences like this provide opportunities for networking, collaboration and allow the sector to enhance innovation through sharing stories, knowledge and resources,” said Steve Kaye, CEO of UKWIR.

Kaye, CEO of UKWIR in last year’s conference