The UK’s water industry faces increasing challenges. The country has a growing population and a changing climate that is placing pressure on the industry at a time of unprecedented market reform and continuously rising customer expectations. The industry’s response to these challenges needs to be informed by the very best research that’s conducted with a global outlook. 

That’s where UKWIR comes in. UKWIR is responsible for facilitating the shaping of the UK water industry’s research agenda – developing the research programme, procuring and managing the research and disseminating the findings. The organisation’s overall ambition is to help create a sustainable water industry for the future whilst meeting both social and economic objectives. 

Delivery of a successful research programme requires input not only from UKWIR’s members (i.e. the water companies of the UK and Ireland), but also Regulators and the organisations that collaborate with them – to define the industry’s needs, steer projects and then apply the outputs in order to secure the anticipated benefits. 

UKWIR has developed 12 Big Questions to tackle the key challenges faced by the industry, now and in the future. These were identified through extensive consultation and discussion with members and stakeholders. 

Advizzo was delighted to be invited to take part in a workshop to help inform research into one of these questions – “How do we halve freshwater abstractions in a sustainable way by 2050?

The areas that this Big Question covers include:

  • Resilient water resources that cope with, and recover from, disruptions as well as anticipate trends and variability in order to maintain our supplies.
  • Eliminate water wastage.
  • Maximise use of potential new sources of drinking water (e.g. desalination, final effluent re-use, rainwater harvesting).

The workshop we participated in was one of a series of 3 running throughout November 2021, which brought together experts to discuss the aim of significantly reducing freshwater abstractions. The workshop covered understanding and changing customer behaviour – Advizzo’s particular area of expertise.

The objectives of the workshop we participated in were:

  • Engage a diverse range of voices from the water and environment sector and beyond with this Big Question.
  • Identify existing research, blockers and opportunities for prioritisation of future research and funding bids.
  • Develop a multi-organisation research plan that refines the BQ01 Big Question Routemap with prioritised research needs.

The workshop provided us with an opportunity to introduce Advizzo’s behavioural science based customer engagement programme – which is key to engaging at scale. We explained how water companies must invest in nudging their customers towards reducing their water consumption and how a nudge must be personalised and relevant. You can read more about this in our recent blog – Have you tried the nudge theory to reduce water consumption? We also advised that campaigns must have a strong communications plan and results must be tracked and measured. 

Once IKWIR understands where the gaps are, it will produce a route map i.e. a plan as to how they will answer this Big Question.

Julien Lancha, Chief Customer Officer, Advizzo commented,

We were delighted to be invited to contribute to this important research. UKWIR is a well-respected organisation within the UK’s water industry and it is driving an ambitious strategic research programme. With our experience of behavioural science based customer engagement campaigns within the industry, we were able to provide valuable insight into what motivates and drives behavioural change and what is required to help encourage customers to reduce their water consumption.”

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