Portfolio - WRc's Collaborative Research Programme

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In this week’s Technical Tuesday Carolyn Lobb, WRc’s Client Outreach Manager, reflects on the success of WRc’s 2023 Portfolio collaborative research programme and looks forward to 2024.

Portfolio – collaborative research in 2023

Portfolio is a long-running collaborative research programme initiated by WRc as the most efficient way for our clients to share costs and risks associated with innovation, and gain knowledge from sharing experience with others.

During 2023, in collaboration with our customers, WRc launched nine new Portfolio projects covering a range of topics. To aid our technical teams and streamline interaction with WRc, we also launched a new market testing process as part of our mission to continually improve processes.

We currently have Portfolio projects running on topics including:

  • Smart DMAs: Smart DMAs (District Metered Areas) are being presented as an important tool in the drive to reduce leakage as well as improving network resilience and operational efficiency. This Portfolio project will develop a framework by which the potential of smartening a particular DMA can be assessed considering not just the impacts on leakage, but also other network impacts, such as reducing discolouration events, improved operational efficiency, and resilience.
  • Lead Supply Pipe Identification Technology: There are approximately 6 million lead supply pipes still serving drinking water to properties in the UK. This project has been created to find technologies that could be adapted to identify supply pipe material that are ideally non-invasive without the need for insertion into the pipe. Up to five technologies will be independently tested to understand their accuracy and potential application for identifying supply pipes within a UK setting.
  • Infiltration Resistance Testing of Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) Liners: Water companies in the UK are under pressure to reduce discharges from sewer overflows. One of the major causes of discharges from sewer overflows is groundwater infiltrating into sewer systems. Water companies therefore plan a major increase in renovation of sewers to reduce infiltration during AMP8. However, previous experience of undertaking such works found that some CIPP products did not provide adequate resistance to groundwater infiltration. The principal output from this Portfolio project will be an agreed Water Industry Specification for leak tightness testing of CIPP liners, which will become a complementary specification to BS EN ISO 11296-4, and will form the agreed leak tightness requirement in accordance with BS EN ISO 11296-1:2018 for UK water company customers.

We also have a suite of successful user groups which bring together different cohorts from across water companies to progress solutions and share knowledge. The newest addition to our user group family, being led by our toxicology team, is focused on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Our Portfolio process is dynamic and flexible, which is one of the reasons it’s been running successfully for over 20 years. The Portfolio programme is really quite special - projects can range in size from £30k to £1M+, from three months to three years in length - but the ethos of sharing insight, working together and moving the industry forward is common across every single one.

We welcome conversations from anyone in the sector who thinks there is a need to research the root cause of a problem facing the industry or to develop a solution - we can then rapidly assemble the right team of technical specialists, partners and interested parties to put together a project. As we head into 2024, WRc Portfolio remains an important delivery platform for the sector – efficient, effective, and collaborative. The whole programme echoes WRc’s corporate objectives of being consciously sustainable, working with like-minded change makers and positively impacting the communities in which we work.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Carolyn Lobb

Business Development Consultant

2024-01-09 09:51:00