On Thursday 17 March, Spring had the opportunity to attend the 22nd Annual Leakage Conference and introduce our role in catalysing innovation which drives more reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure across the sector. With many of the industry’s brightest minds in attendance, we seized the chance to announce the launch of a new Spring Community focused on sharing thought leadership and knowledge about infrastructure resilience. The main aims of this novel community are to surface ideas, forge connections, and facilitate knowledge sharing related to building and maintaining assets which provide long-term economic, social and environmental value.

The Delivering Resilient Infrastructure Systems Spring community will be co-led by three key representatives from water companies, supply chain and academia:

  • Jeremy Heath: Innovation Manager at SES Water and programme lead for the UKWIR Big Question “How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050?”;
  • Sally Watson: Technical Excellence and Digital Lead for Water and Environment at Mott MacDonald, who has extensive experience driving water resources planning at regional and company scale, and helped deliver Mott MacDonald’s successful application for the BS Kitemark for Innovation Management; and
  • David Butler: Head of Engineering at University of Exeter, Director of the Centre for Water Systems and Director of the EPSRC WISE Centre for Doctoral Training, specialised in urban water management.

When we asked our Delivering Resilient Infrastructure Systems Co-Leads about their mutual vision for this new community, they shared the following objectives:

  • It will be critical for this community to encourage the development of innovative digital asset management solutions that can monitor the current state and condition of assets and their deterioration” said Co-Lead Jeremy Heath;
  • This community will allow us to challenge each other, starting with understanding what needs to be done collaboratively versus independently in order to share knowledge on trial outcomes more widely” said Ashleigh Monagle, who is working closely with Sally Watson;
  • The main aim for this community is to ensure that our infrastructure is future-proofed for known scenarios but also prepared for unknown challenges by establishing the cost-effectiveness of a portfolio of interventions” said Co-Lead David Butler.

Our discussion also yielded an insight that clear actions need to be taken in the short term to achieve resilient infrastructure and the desired aims stated in the 2050 Water Innovation Strategy. These include:

  • Aligning on a common definition of resilient infrastructure;
  • Developing a clear understanding of the difference between risk and resilience management;
  • Educating customers on the benefits of resilience, and influencing customer behaviour;
  • Developing comparability measures between assets;
  • Improving approaches to risk management through clear oversight and understanding of current and future asset health risks;
  • Developing clearer ways of communicating resilience standards; and
  • Enhancing current approach to long-term planning for greater alignment between short, medium and long-term objectives.

Reflecting on the community’s ambitious remit, Ashleigh Monagle remarked “I hope that through this community space we can stretch and challenge ourselves and introduce more innovative techniques to achieve resilient infrastructure, such as enabling digital twins using predictive modelling”.

Whether you are a startup leading the change in asset resilience, a company with experience using asset modelling tools, a researcher in this space, or you simply want to share a challenge you are facing and gather expert views on how to tackle it, you can join Spring’s newest Community here!