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🚰 Introducing the Water Action Platform

The Stream

Photo by Ram Singh / Unsplash

Hosts: Will Sarni & Tom Freyberg
Guest: Dr. Piers Clark | Founder & Chairman | Isle Utilities
Category: 🚰 Utilities

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[13:34] “When we set the Water Action Platform up, it really wasn't intended to become anything like what it's become now. It was March 23, 2020 and […] I simply thought the pandemic is coming at that stage. […] And I thought […] utilities probably need to share what they're doing. And one of the things we're very good at in Isle is encouraging collaboration and sharing of knowledge between utilities. So I picked up my phone, and I sent a text to a few senior people that I knew in half a dozen water utilities inbox saying, I'm going to set up a WhatsApp group to share COVID-19 learning and experiences if you want to join. And it sort of went […] viral. […] Within three days, we've got 72 utilities, and today [we’re at] over 800 organizations, and we've now hit 94 countries who are involved in the Water Action Platform.”

[14:54] “In those first few months, it was incredibly important as people were trying to work out how do they manage their workforce, what do they do with keeping their PPE clean. We were one of the first people to spot the otter start reporting the news around COVID-19 […] being identified in the sewer network. And that potentially being a method of tracking how the pandemic was spreading. […] And so it became this very exciting thing and very useful, I think, for the industry.”

[16:37] “In about August 2020, we started introducing different conversations, different stories, and the audience responded so well to it. In fact, we ended up with even more people signing up to hear the broadcast that we felt we were able to expand it. Now, that gets us to where we are today. […] The pandemic was the first crisis that we were dealing with, but there is now a much bigger crisis that we need to think about and actually sharing knowledge on that crisis feels like the right thing to do. And of course, the crisis I'm talking about is the climate crisis, is the fact that following the IPCC recent report, it is undoubtedly the world's on fire […] and we need to respond in water utilities.

[17:41] “The key thing here, I think, is that water utilities are on both sides of the problem. Water utilities use huge amounts of energy and treating and pumping heavy water. […] Yet on the flip side, water utilities have also got enormous potential to not just be much more efficient in aeration systems and things like that, but also to generate green clean power from anything from floating solar arrays on on reservoirs through to fermenting sewage sludge and anaerobic digesters. So there's an opportunity for water companies to have a double whammy impact on the climate crisis by moving from one side of the equation to the other.”

[25:59] “What we're intending to use the platform for is identifying case studies where people have done things, tried new technologies, and then using the platform to share that knowledge as quickly and as effectively as possible. […] We are launching something at the end of this year, which will radically change, I believe, […] how water utilities can adopt new technologies. Because one of the problems we've got it isn't just about information flow, it is also the sort of risk element around a technology coming to a water utility, and […] helping them adopt that technology and manage that risk around that adoption.”

[29:20] “The Water Action Platform is proudly free at the point of use. […] So when we first started it was a strictly water utility municipal group. […] And then we opened it up to the industrial and commercial industry. And then actually we said well, the supply chains have got some brilliant ideas, too. So we've ended up with this quite broad [group].”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "A Walk in the Park")
🕰️ 36 min | 🗓️ 10/06/2021
✅ Time saved: 34 min

Additional Links:
Join the Water Action Platform