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Searching for sustainable solutions for the water industry

Securing a sustainable future for the water industry is imperative, and innovative solutions are needed to ensure its progression. We’ve been working with Anglian Water to deliver the Water Innovation Network (WIN) for several years – a free business network that provides opportunities and support for those developing innovations in the water sector.

We meet Laura Underhill, our newly appointed WIN Manager at Allia to find out more about the aims of the partnership and what WIN looks for in applicants.

Securing a sustainable future for the water industry is imperative, and innovative solutions are needed to ensure its progression. We’ve been working with Anglian Water to deliver the Water Innovation Network (WIN) for several years – a free business network that provides opportunities and support for those developing innovations in the water sector.

We meet Laura Underhill, our newly appointed WIN Manager at Allia to find out more about the aims of the partnership and what WIN looks for in applicants.

What is the Water Innovation Network (WIN)?

WIN is aimed at driving innovation to improve the overall sustainability of the water industry. We give businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals a chance to share their solutions with water industry experts, from whom they will receive constructive feedback, gaining insight on how they could help the water industry be more sustainable. They can also access specialist support to grow their business, which includes the opportunity to use Allia’s maker space ‘Innovation Lab’ and incubation workspace.

Can you tell me about the partnership between Anglian Water and Allia?

Both Allia and Anglian Water drive innovation to make positive environmental and social change and working together in a strategic partnership enables us both to support sustainable solutions for the water industry. WIN enables both partners to leverage key resources; from working with start-ups, delivering business support and access to water industry knowledge – to identify and progress solutions that can transform the industry for a sustainable future.

What is your role within WIN?

As WIN Manager my role is to create an environment where open innovation is fostered and encouraged. Through developing relationships with key stakeholders, I’m able to ensure innovative ideas are channeled into Anglian Water. I work closely with Anglian Water to understand key business challenges to help articulate and tailor the opportunities to the network externally.

Part of my role is to manage the submissions portal ensuring that individual submissions are processed and feedback is fed back from Anglian Water experts. I’m also responsible for developing and running a series of events that engage innovative businesses, the Anglian Water supply chain, and other WIN stakeholders. I hope to help grow the network, engaging with external suppliers and leveraging cross-sector solutions.

What sort of solutions do you look for?

We are always looking for innovative solutions that contribute or improve our business strategies. In AMP7 (2020-2025) we have set ourselves stretching targets and we need your help to meet them. We have four key ambitions for the future:

  • Make the East of England resilient to the risks of drought and flooding
  • Enable sustainable economic and housing growth in the UK’s fastest growing region
  • Be a carbon-neutral business by 2050
  • Work with others to achieve significant improvement in ecological quality across our catchments

Previous solutions include Pontoonworks, a floating pontoon system which ensures engineers and surveyors have a safe and stable platform to carry out inspections and maintenance on water, and Siemens Simocode, an innovative, cost effective solution to pump blockages which can help decrease them by 70%.

What does the submission process look like?

If your innovation meets any of our requirements, we want to hear from you!

Submit your solution through the Water Innovation Network portal – www.waterinnovation.net and click sign in. Your submission will be revised by our review group and feedback will be provided.

If you have any questions please contact Laura Underhill, Water Innovation Network Manager, at lunderhill@anglianwater.co.uk