To us, innovation means applying new ideas and technologies in ways that benefit our customers, the communities we serve and the environment around us.
We work with farmers across our region to protect water sources from pesticides and excess nitrogen that comes from fertiliser.
In the last few years we have added to this with the creation of EnTrade, an online trading platform that can involve farmers, regulators, wildlife organisations and other interests, to tackle a range of environmental challenges.
Between 2015 and 2020 we are conducting 40 environmental investigations and trials to ensure future investment is spent wisely. These include two new methods in sewage treatment for removing phosphorus, which could otherwise lead to low oxygen levels in in rivers and estuaries. One is the use of magnetite, an iron ore, to improve sedimentation. Another project, working with the University of Bath involved growing algae in controlled conditions to feed on the phosphorus.
Our sister company GENeco has been innovating for several years to generate renewable energy and improve waste management. At Bristol water recycling centre GENeco digests sewage sludge and food waste, producing biogas. Through investment in new technology the gas can now be used to generate electricity, fuel vehicles or produce heat by injecting it into the local gas grid.
You can find out more about these and other projects in our 2017 Innovation report (see related downloads below) and our business plan for 2020-25.
Innovating for customers and communities
Working with customers and communities helps us understand their priorities and their views about our services.
Initiatives that are new or were ground-breaking when they began include:
- an online community, Have Your Say, to gauge opinions from our customers on specific topics
- social tariffs and debt advice to assist vulnerable people and low income households
- Water Force, an internal scheme to encourage employees to volunteer their time to support local community initiatives
We recognise the important role the public play in helping us detect and report leaks, and we have a simple online option that allows the public to quickly tell us about a potential leak.