Anglian Water's Innovation Shop Window includes a sewer robot

Anglian Water is teaming up with businesses big and small to create a hotbed of innovation in and around the racing town of Newmarket in Suffolk, which the company calls its Innovation Shop Window.

 Anglian Water and its region are faced with the combined challenge of a changing climate, a fast-growing population and the need to reduce abstraction to protect the natural environment. It is already the driest region in the UK, with competing demands for water from agriculture, food production, our rivers and wetlands and a population set to grow by a million people in the next 25 years.

The company’s answer is to transform its business through collaboration and innovation, an approach exemplified by its Innovation Shop Window. In this hotbed of innovation, it is testing new ideas, technologies and ways of working and combining them in one, dedicated area. In this way, they become more than the sum of their parts and help to build the water company of the future.

Managing the risk of climate change and growth on finite resources is at the heart of our operations and future strategy, which is why we have Love Every Drop as our mantra.

It is also why we are working with other businesses on innovative solutions to the challenges our industry faces and to create a water company with a full armoury of tools to tackle them.

Thermal imaging drone

Already, the project has seen a clever new sewer robot and drones with thermal imaging cameras to find hard-to-spot water leaks; smart meters have been installed at 6,000 properties in the Shop Window to help customers save water and money; and behind the scenes, 3D models and virtual reality technology are helping us work smarter on large-scale engineering schemes.

Tomorrow’s world

To guide its work in the Shop Window, Anglian Water has set seven ambitious goals, including zero leakage and flooding, chemical free treatment, and reducing water consumption to 80 litres per person per day.

We are already working with more than 100 partners on more than 60 live projects. Our Newmarket Innovation Shop Window is a real world location where we drive innovation through collaboration across our business, supply chain and the entire man-made water cycle.

By concentrating innovation in one town, we are demonstrating that we can unlock additional synergies between new technologies and therefore find different ways of working. This is accelerating our learning and will allow us to improve customer service, environmental stewardship and the efficiency of our business at a much faster pace.

The project is helping Anglian Water to move with the times and keep going in the right direction with its technology.

Through the ‘Smarter Drop’ programme people are being asked to commit to reducing their water consumption. In addition to the smart meters and the accompanying online portal where people can monitor their water use, we are sharing simple, smart actions that save water and save money.