'Water Dragons' Heat 2018 – October 2018

'Water Dragons' Heat 2018 – October 2018

We hosted the Future Water Association's Water Dragons Heat at Durham University, on Wednesday 10th October 2018.  Keynote speakers for the day were Steph Hurry - Waterwise, Richard Whale - Atkins, Chris Jones - Northumbrian Water and Clair Cooper - Durham University.

We had eight fantastic businesses pitching their innovations for the Water industry, 4 of which focused on saving water including low-flow showers, gravity-fed rainwater harvesting, a water swelling liner to capture and slowly release water in hanging baskets and a way to flush sewers without wasting potable water.

We also featured the opportunity for businesses to trial their proof of concepts which included water dispersable wipes, IoT-enabled rainwater management, software to optimise wastewater dosing and a method to repair leaking pipes.

After careful deliberation the judges deemed their winner as Reece Innovation.  The audience also had the opportunity to vote for their best product and they voted for Raindrop Harvest!  Both businesses will be invited to the Future Water Association's final in 2019.

The winners of the Proof of Concept competition were awarded to Twipes for their truly flushable wipe and Over the Air Analytics for their smart water management system.

Find out more at Future Water Association

NWG Innovation Festival: 9th – 13th July 2018

NWG Innovation Festival: 9th – 13th July 2018

NWG Innovation Festival – what’s in store for 2019 Year of Green Action?
Last week, Northumbrian Water held their 2nd Innovation Festival where businesses, practitioners, regulators, academics and customers explored 13 Grand Challenges that we currently face in the water environment. Northumbrian Water created the perfect environment for open innovation and collaboration and 100’s of creative and inspired ideas were born.

What we did......

The Water Hub ran a 3 day sprint: 2019 Year of Green Action - what nature can do for you and your business?

We all want to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and we know that small and medium businesses need to be part of the solution if we are to grow a sustainable northeast economy. This is what we unpacked over the three days with a wonderful group of open, passionate and creative people.

We explored the challenge with keynotes from Oliver Harmer (above) - Environment Agency, Claire Thompson - North East England Nature Partnership and our very own Louise Bracken. We were inspired with Flash Talks from Lydia Allen - National Youth Agency, Graham Thrower - Urban Foresight, Leon Baruah - Viridian Logic, Tom Sinclare - Daykin and Storey, Paul Black - Capability North East, Tony Gates - Northumberland National Park, Martha Silcott - Fab Little Bag, Lorna Davis - SuDSPlanter and Adrian Cantle-Jones - Durham County Council. Check out Martha’s poem and Louise and Lorna’s Festival keynote on our YouTube page.

We had a couple of unexpected guests join us in our Sprint, BBC Breakfast's - Steph McGovern and Claire Moriarty - DEFRA's Permanent Secretary, who came to see how we plan to operationalise the government's 25-year plan for the environment in the North East of England.

So what did we come up with?

Green Partners - Achieving multiple benefits through partnership working. This team identified the principle barrier as knowing who is doing what, where, when and what the opportunities are to work together. Out of their thinking, the Green Partners app was born.







Green Procurement - creating a competitive advantage for sustainable businesses, products and services. This team set an ambitious long-term goal: in 25 years only sustainable businesses would exist. They identifying the overriding factor in most procurement systems was cost and set a course to redress that balance by creating a procurement system where sustainable businesses have a competitive advantage.




Roots - co-creating places and communities by giving colour ans soul to our un-loved green spaces. This team set a goal for the co-creation of green spaces – matching unloved green spaces with people and communities, and developed an app to facilitate this match-making.






Eco Angels of the North - an augmented reality game which partners with Eco-businesses engage children in environmentally responsible behaviours. This team set a goal that environmentally responsible behaviour is our everyday norm, and focused on engaging young people in the conversation. Their augmented reality game used gamification, quizzes, incentives and rewards to educate and encourage environmentally responsible behaviour.





Watch this space.....
Our goal at The Water Hub was to use the Innovation Festival to spark ideas for how we can celebrate 2019 the Year of Green Action in the North East. We will be taking forward some of these concepts and others emerging from the embers in the coming weeks. Watch this space for more information!

Engaging customers with saving water

Engaging customers with saving water

With water efficiency in the national news, The Water Hub invited some fantastic speakers from Waterwise, Northumbrian Water and an award-winning small business (FabLittleBag), to discuss how to engage customers with saving water, and talk about why we need consistent messaging across the UK.

Our audience brought perspectives from academia, business and the public sector, leading to a fascinating conversation on what the future might bring, and how much more innovation we can expect to see in behaviour, technology and policy associated with water use.

We hope the event sparked ideas for businesses to submit to our Water Dragons heat in October.

Watch the highlights from the discussion on YouTube here.

Durham University and Northumbrian Water sign partnership to tackle water challenges

Durham University and Northumbrian Water sign partnership to tackle water challenges

Durham University and Northumbrian Water have joined together, to help tackle water-related challenges and opportunities affecting society and the environment.

They have signed an agreement that will see them share research and development expertise in areas such as catchment management, risk and resilience, stakeholder engagement, innovation, data science and energy.

The five-year partnership will also support economic growth in North East England, particularly by providing support to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) formalising The Water Hub’s on-going partnership between Durham University and Northumbrian Water.

Read the original article here.

Photo credit: Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, and Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive Officer, Northumbrian Water, signing the Memorandum of Understanding agreement.

Credit: Victoria Greener/Durham University.

NE Satellite Catapult Conference

NE Satellite Catapult Conference – Ramside Hotel, Durham

Professor Louise Bracken was invited along to the NE Satellite Catapult Conference to introduce The Water Hub to SMEs within the data-led satellite applications industry. The purpose of this event was to help SMEs identify and develop innovative solutions to address societal challenges around water and the environment with the key attribute being to creating new collaborative partnerships to develop and land ideas in the water and environmental sectors.

We met a number of fascinating SMEs which we hope to develop strong relationships with in the near future.

The Environment Agency Market Stall Event

The Environment Agency Market Stall Event – Great North Museum, Hancock, Newcastle

The event was designed to showcase the work taking place across the North East to improve the environment and protect people and place.

The Water Hub was invited to this event where our Market Stall focussed on Blue/Green infrastructure and Nature Based solutions. Some great opportunities were realised at this event.

Water Dragons 2017 Final – Durham University

Water Dragons 2017 Final – Durham University, Durham

Members of The Water Hub team, Sarah Cotterill (Innovation Manager), Professor Louise Bracken (Scientific Director) and Chris Jones (Northumbrian Water) represented The Water Dragons event, presenting to the event and also being part of the judging panel. The event was hosted by Future Water Association.

Five exciting pitches were presented throughout the day from Quensus, Hydrosave, Fab Little Bag, Nuron and Waterfit with the Fab Little Bag announced as the final winner being on 14 April 2018 at the FWA Annual Awards lunch.

We will be hosting The Water Hub's Water Dragons Heat on 10th October 2018.

NE Drone Cluster – Aerial Exposure

NE Drone Cluster – Aerial Exposure, Catterick Garrison

George Gerring (Partnership Manager) presented our two open Innovation Challenges to the NE Drone Cluster Group, sponsored by The Environment Agency and The Marine Management Organisation. The event was hosted by Ben Wilkinson from Aerial Exposure.

The Cluster group included a number of regional SMEs working in the Space Sector, Aerial Quality Solutions, Jumping Rivers, E2E, Udara to name a few! We will be working closely with them to develop ways in which The Water Hub can support their businesses.


The Water Hub launches at VentureFest – Newcastle

We were invited to host our first ever Water Hub Challenge at VentureFest on 14 November 2017, St James’s Park. The Challenge presented to the audience considered ways of reducing the impacts of flooding by harnessing new technologies.

The audience were challenged to create the best, most accessible flood forecasting, warning information and response service possible using all data out there, in a way which improves communication and reach to responders and the public, especially for those in areas out with formal flood warning schemes. In particular, by way of Improving localised flood warning services, communicating flood risk more effectively and bespoke support for people at risk of flooding – before, during and after the event.

The event was hosted by Innovate NE UK with representatives from The Environment Agency, Durham University and Northumbrian Water presenting on the challenges faced by their respective organisations.

Intense discussion took place throughout the day with SMEs from across the North East of England. Fantastic ideation was in full flow, creating valuable relationships for future Water Hub challenges.