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Australian utilities join international water innovation fund

Five Australian water utilities have joined a global initiative that aims to provide innovative solutions to the world’s water challenges.

Hunter Water, Yarra Valley Water, City West Water, Melbourne Water and South East Water are founding members of the World Water Innovation Fund (WWIF), along with Severn Trent and United Utilities from the UK, LADWP and DC Water from the US, and Aegea from Brazil.

Each member has committed money to a central pool that will be used to conduct research and develop new technologies. These will be trialled by the WWIF members, with the results published online to promote knowledge sharing and avoid repetition of trials around the world.

The WWIF was launched by Severn Trent CEO Liv Garfield at the Global Water Summit in London recently.

“Water scarcity, triggered by climate change and population, is a huge challenge for the water industry across the world, which is why today’s launch is so important,” Garfield said at the summit.

“By creating this fund, we’ve joined forces with like-minded companies from across the globe who recognise the challenges we face and who want to do things differently, to find new ways of working and to leave a lasting water legacy for future generations.”

The WWIF’s priorities are to preserve a supply of safe water and provide sanitation for future generations.

One of the first areas the WWIF will focus on is leakage. In a statement, the organisation said this could include collaborating with leading researchers and manufacturers to develop robots that can be standardised for the water industry to seek, locate and even repair leaks inside pipes.

South East Water Research and Development Manager David Bergmann said the WWIF is about creating a better world through innovation.

“We’re excited about what digital technology can bring to traditional assets and ways of operating,” Bergmann said.

“Making systems smart means that we know exactly what’s going on at any moment in time.”

To find out more about the World Water Innovation Fund, click here.