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Steven Jones, Managing Director of egeplast UK, talks about the challenges being faced with regard to the UK’s water supply network and the role pipe manufactures can play in future proofing our water network.

We’re all aware of news stories about leaks and current capacity issues in the UK water network but this is far from the whole story. By 2050 alone, the UK will need an additional 4.0 billion litres of water per day to keep pace with population growth and address the impact of the climate change. This significant additional capacity is required to protect the UK from predicted extreme drought and water scarcity. But where will it come from?

According to industry data, around 1.0 to 1.5bn litres per day needs to come from a reduction in water usage with personal usage falling from 135 to 110 litres per day; 1.0 to 1.5bn litres per day needs to come from extra capacity via the construction of new reservoirs, something which hasn’t been done in the UK for more than 30 years, while a further 1.0 to 1.5bn litres per day capacity will be created by achieving a 50 per cent reduction in leakage.

On top of this, the water sector is also seeking to fulfil its responsibilities with regard to the environment by reducing its CO² emissions, delivering net zero and minimising flooding risk. There have also been calls for the water sector to develop a national infrastructure network which can easily move water to from one part of the country to another where it’s needed. Clearly future proofing the UK’s water network is far from a simple or quick task, and everyone in the supply chain has their part to play.

As a designer and manufacturer of pipe systems, egeplast can’t influence water resource or consumption levels but we can help tackle leakage and also reduce carbon.

At egeplast, we are currently focussing on three core areas which will support the water companies as they strive to further develop the water network: the development of more advanced versions of egeplast pipe monitoring systems which already notify water companies of pipe damage and leaks in real time; the development of our existing trenchless pipe products which have a different style of outer layer to enable easier installations which generate less waste, and the provision of tailored project specific service initiatives such as just-in-time delivery schedules and the use of mega trailers to reduce the number of loads sent to a site and so minimise carbon emissions.

We have a proven track record in the development of industry firsts such as the SLA Barrier Pipe System and are continuing to invest significantly in product development. We are also working collaboratively with all parts of the water industry and its supply chain to ensure we can deliver the solutions required.

Critically though it’s important that, as a pipe manufacturer, we continue to take the long term view with regard to the development of innovative solutions which will meet the needs of the water industry and society as a whole.

There is clearly a need to align five investment plans with longer term ambitions so our view is significantly beyond the next AMP cycle. Our focus has always been and will continue to be on the development of future proofed pipe systems which will enable our customers to address these challenges not just for the next five years but for the next 50. Only by taking this approach, can we effectively help the UK’s water industry to meet its long term goals.

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