22nd March, 2018

The Water Hub awards prizes for new ideas to communicate environmental data differently.

The Water Hub organised a mini hackathon on the 14th and 15th March 2018 to develop potential ideas to communicate environmental data in new ways to enable local action. Congratulations to Jumping Rivers and Tracerco who were awarded £2500 each for their ingenuity and to River Action and Virtual Taylor who were runners-up, winning £1250 each. The Water Hub will now work with these ideas to develop potential new products in the water and environmental sector.

The purpose of the hackathon was to explore environmental data and the ways it is made available and communicated to the public. Data included information on river catchments, water quality and classifications of water bodies. The event was sponsored by the Environment Agency and hosted in partnership with Sunderland Software City to encourage transfer of skills and ideas from digital experts into environmental management.

Professor Louise Bracken, Scientific Director of The Water Hub, commented:
‘The hackathon was a huge success. It is a real pleasure to be able to award funding to innovative ideas that can inform environmental management practices and to now be able to work with the organisations to try to bring these ideas to life’.

In total 11 organisations and SMEs pitched ideas to the judging panel. The range and quality of ideas were outstanding with innovations focused on developing new applications and web design to share information, developing new mechanisms to leverage funding into managing the environment, automated analysis of data and analysis of language used to summarising environmental challenges in different locations. The Water Hub is actively following up ideas with the teams to evaluate these ideas for future product development.

If you would like to find out more about The Water Hub, please send us an email.

4th April, 2018

The Water Hub organises live testing to help businesses develop new products to store water for domestic properties.

The Water Hub is excited to announce that the first tests of new products are now live. Product testing is taking place in South Moor, County Durham where The Water Hub is working with a collaboration of small businesses to develop new products to store and manage rainwater and runoff. Tree pits and planters have been installed to demonstrate novel ways of storing water in the streetscape, to collect evidence to demonstrate their effectiveness. The information used to shape further product development.

The product testing is part of a partnership The Water Hub are coordinating to build sustainable drainage features. The project involves retrofitting water attenuation features, monitoring their performance over 12 months, and establishing a local “Water – Energy Friends” group, to educate and encourage residents to support further investment in green infrastructure.

Local residents and Adrian Cantle-Jones (Durham County Council and The Water Hub), visiting the excavation site for 3 tree pits, which are designed to capture and attenuate surface water.

George Gerring, Partnerships Manager at The Water Hub, reflected:

‘Through partnership working, The Water Hub plan to establish a demonstration site at South Moor. This will allow small, innovative businesses to test new water and energy saving products in a live environment. Crucially the project includes input from 300 residents to shape solutions’.

The project is being delivered in collaboration with Durham County Council and Groundwork North East,  with further support from the Environment Agency, Northumbrian Water and a number of small businesses.

Alex Stephenson, Director of H2O Intelligence Ltd, has been installing his latest venture, SuDSPlanter, which is a collaboration with Lorna Davis Designs. He noted the support he has received, which extends beyond gaining access to a real-world validation site:

‘The Water Hub is suppoprting us in two or three ways: they’re helping us to collaborate with researchers, gain access to some grant funding and help to develop the product further.’

Alex Stephenson installing a SuDSPlanter in a resident’s rear-yard.

Sarah Cotterill from The Water Hub, with Groundwork North East.


In total, five businesses are working together to address the challenge presented in a joint tender from The Water Hub and Durham County Council. The project, managed by Groundwork North East, includes input from Fairhurst, Brambledown Landscape Services, and Environmental Monitoring Solutions. The work complements ongoing improvements to the region, carried out by the Wear Rivers Trust and through the Greening the Twizell Partnership.
For more information on The Water Hub, and future work at South Moor, send us an email or follow us on Twitter.


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