Major Water Utilities Reveal 2022 Predictions for the Industry

Just seven weeks to go until a compelling line-up of 70+ global water leaders speak at the World Water-Tech Innovation Summit in London and online on February 22-23. As they build their strategies for 2022 and the decade ahead, major water utilities will share their industry predictions and offer a glimpse of their innovation objectives – with a focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Alice Guehennec, Group Chief Digital & Information Officer, SAUR, FRANCE: “After this health crisis that has impacted us all, we all need to focus in 2022 on innovation and acceleration, so that the recovery is sustainable over time regarding environmental challenges. At Saur, we have put €300 million on the table in capital expenditure over the past three years to boost our industrial and digital expertise. In addition to the budget allocated annually to the IT Department, an exceptional amount of €120 million has been allocated to me to finance the group’s transformation and preserve water resources. This is the path we must take to participate at our level in the ecological transition.

Everyone must have a single objective: to preserve water resources. This means improving the performance of water company operations, even though public budgets are now more constrained. It also means integrating more deeply with the information system of utilities and delivering new services to users, such as optimising the operation of facilities that provide better forecasts of both consumption needs and maintenance. The aim is also to move from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance.”

Jan Goossens, CEO, AQUAFIN, BELGIUM: “In a lot of countries, further effort still needs to be done to meet the European Water Framework Directive by 2027. In Flanders (Belgium) that also includes continued significant investments in sewers and wastewater treatment facilities. Due to the increasing pressure on water resources in our region, we notice that the reuse of treated wastewater is rapidly being taken to a higher level. In the coming years, several pilot and full-scale projects are coming on stream using effluent for the production of process water and drinking water as well as for aquifer storage and recovery.

We are facing a number of challenges that are evolving at an unseen pace, climate change being the most obvious one. Therefore, I feel like innovation in the water sector should pick up speed and should be opened up. We could gain a lot from, for instance, cooperation with innovative and entrepreneurial start-ups. Also, we need to take full advantage of the potential of digitalisation, big data analysis and modelling.”

Andrea Aliscioni, COO, MM SPA, ITALY: “Looking ahead to 2022, the main challenges for water services will concern the self-production of energy to reduce the use of traditional energy sources and the completion of the digital management of the meter to cash process. The greatest opportunities for utilities may be using the next generation European funding.”

David Riley, Head of Carbon Neutrality, ANGLIAN WATER, UK: “A key theme discussed at COP26 highlighted if businesses are up for the challenge in the race to net zero. A tipping point has now been reached with public awareness on the need to act and a wall of green finance at the ready in support of credible and robust low carbon business plans.”

Tony Harrington, Director of Environment, WELSH WATER, UK:  “2022 will be the year we begin to set out our plans and priorities for the future. These may well form the largest investment programme since privatisation.  The water sector is at a crossroads. We can either continue to focus on the shorter term, or we can embrace the principles of sustainable development, and plan and implement solutions which solve our challenges in a way which respects the needs of the next generation.

The biggest opportunity for utilities but particularly for the water sector, will be to work in partnership with regulators and governments, to lead the way on climate mitigation. Together we can innovate to implement solutions to secure a decarbonised and sustainable future, one which offers a service focused on the long-term needs of our customers.”

All the featured utilities will be speaking at World Water-Tech! The full programme, speaker faculty and registration are available at