Meet 14 Water Utility CEOs at World Water-Tech

How are global water utilities using new technologies to drive operational efficiency and reduce carbon emissions?

14 utility CEOs and MDs will join the 80-strong speaking faculty at this year’s World Water-Tech Innovation Summit on February 23-24 to share their strategies for innovation and digitisation.

Hear from our experts at the World Water-Tech Innovation Summit this February:


In recent months, the Northumbrian team and you as the CEO have been receiving numerous industry awards and recognitions. Which is the achievement from 2020 you are most proud of?
“While I am delighted that we were again named Water Company of the Year, I take great personal pride in the awards we received for our partnership with North Tyneside Council, the Environment Agency and Esh-Stantec on the project in Longbenton and Killingworth to reduce the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall to 3,500 homes within the area. The awards won at the Environment Agency’s Flood & Coast Excellence Awards, CIWEM Urban Drainage Group Awards and CECA North East Awards 2020 clearly demonstrate the value and success of our environmental partnership work.”

Who are the key stakeholders Northumbrian need to engage to achieve the net zero commitments? How are these stakeholders being engaged?
“Northumbrian Water’s plan to spend 60p in every £1 locally hugely reduces our carbon footprint – from simple travel savings, to a tighter supply chain and more. Within this, through our procurement processes, we can help the supply chain deliver on Net Zero as well – directly benefitting ourselves and our community. We work in partnership with local conversation and environmental groups to tale on the challenges and deliver solutions – for example to bring forward sustainable renewable energy schemes that also help with biodiversity. We engage them as part of our business-as-usual approach to being an environmental company – engaging, investing and participating in our local communities while putting our Net Zero ambition at the heart of what we do.”


How are Aquafin reducing energy consumption across their networks, while simultaneously generating more energy themselves?
We reduce our energy consumption by a thorough screening of the big consumers such as aeration.  Followed by specific action plans that focus both on investments e.g., more efficient blower and aeration systems) and on operational optimisation e.g., implementing more efficient aeration control algorithms. Furthermore, energy generation is mostly managed by optimising our digesters e.g., higher feeding rates, or increasing the digestion temperature. We are currently also exploring the possibilities to recover thermal energy from sewer systems. And finally, investments in solar panels have significantly increased our energy generation.

What approaches are being taking to manage storm and rainwater across your networks? How are you reducing the likelihood of flooding?
The design of sewer systems is based upon hydrodynamic modelling, already considering the likelihood of increased stormwater, but additional measures should be taken. Source control measures such as green roofs, uncoupling stormwater from the sewer system, infiltration/SUDS are promoted as much as possible. Paved surfaces are transformed into green areas to allow infiltration and to prevent run off to the sewer systems. Buffering storage facilities are built to store stormwater and are considered as a multi-purpose buffer to store and reuse the stormwate


How is Evides preparing for prevailing drought conditions across its networks?
Managing our water resources is one of our core business activities. Back in the 1960’s large water basins were created in the Biesbosch to ensure the water supply, quality and quantity for the Rotterdam and Zeeland area. Local water basins were erected to optimize the system. With these basins we can bridge periods of low rundown of surface water in the rivers and to be selective in which water we take in. Every four years we make forecasts for the water supply for the next 10 years and review if our water resources can fulfil this demand. This is a requirement of the Dutch “Drinking water law”. Our water resources are managed by our own people by having close and structural contact with the governmental bodies who are responsible for the water system. Various monitoring systems for quality and quantity are used to be able to make forecasts and adapt to changing situations. In long periods of drought, we monitor the available water and if needed, we can deploy our team for crisis management.

If droughts hold on for longer periods our system can adapt by optimizing the use of alternative water resources, treatments, and infrastructure for that situation. For example, we can use lower quality of the water intake by increasing the water treatment. We are also able to change the mix of water resources by using the ones which are the most robust so we can spare the ones which are temporarily under pressure. Our business management centre is in the lead in operation of the system changes. Yearly we pay attention to the value of our product and create awareness on the need of sustainable and responsible use of potable and industrial water.

How are utilities ensuring a sustainable allocation of water resources between households, commercial water users and the environment?
Evides uses various water resources for various applications. We look for the most optimal use of water resources by looking at the final use of the water. We use local surface water for industrial purposes. These sources are not always suitable for production of potable water due to specific chemical or biological parameters. We also use treated wastewater as a source to produce industrial water. In industrial applications reuse of various wastewater streams is business as usual, e.g., reuse of condensate and industrial wastewater are proven technologies to reduce the demand from the water system. With this approach we reserve the best sources for potable water. Evides also owns and manages several areas where groundwater is abstracted. In these areas managing nature is one of the key factors to keep the water quality and quantity on the required level. The status of the nature and biodiversity is a good indicator on the quality of the groundwater.