Fluid Thinking

Turning challenges into opportunities in the water sector

The challenges facing the Water sector are coming in thick and fast.

Network resilience and security of supply is on everyone’s radar, as the water industry faces up to the big issues of the day like catchment management (including waste control and plastic contamination). The effects of climate change in the shape of regular flooding and drought events puts additional strain on ageing utility assets and is further compounded by a growing population.

To help combat this, the Water UK Manifesto 2020- 2025 has committed to a £50 billion spend over the five-year AMP7 investment period and Irish Water has committed to a ¤5.5bn over 5 years to 2021. Under this manifesto, there are also goals such as 800km of river improvements and saving 461 million litres of leaked water a day from ageing assets. Some of our biggest clients like Thames Water and United Utilities are tackling those issues head on – and that’s brought about some ambitious targets. As a prominent delivery partner to our clients, covering both capital-funded and operations-funded work streams, our customers’ goals are our goals too.

Since 2016, we have made good progress on improving our operations and expanding our footprint. We have secured major projects including Yorkshire Water’s Energy and Recycling Facility near Huddersfield, Wessex Water’s North Bristol Relief Sewer and multiple schemes for Irish Water. On top of this, we have secured places on strategically significant frameworks for Severn Trent Water and United Utilities (both covering the AMP7 period) and for Irish Water and Northern Ireland Water. This portfolio gives us scale, which together with enhanced services offered by MPE and our multi-skilled delivery teams, means we are now in a strong position to develop creative solutions for our clients.

To make sure that we can rise to the occasion, our Water sector strategy for the next few years includes:

  • Spending most of our effort delivering the work we have already secured. We must do the basics exceptionally and consistently well.
  • Developing our skills and talent to meet future requirements, including building our engineering skills and capabilities, and dependable project management.
  • Working with suppliers and partners to identify low-build/no-build solutions using technology and full catchment data. A great example of this is on SES Water’s Buckley to Headley scheme, where we used Smartball surveys to identify and implement fixes to existing mains rather than build a new asset.
  • Continuing to develop exciting and potentially industry-changing technologies such as our iPAC system (intelligent Performance Assessment Centre) – a solution that will help our clients to manage and control waste water treatment plant performance far more accurately. iPAC uses real-time data to inform plant operators on the use of power and chemicals, and help manage sludge more effectively. 

The water sector is facing huge environmental and operational challenges. It’s clear that being a leader on these issues will help us to win contracts that fit our business model, and enable us to build long-term value creating relationships.

To find out more about the Water sector, please visit the page here

Murphy Water Sector Director

Related projects

deephams water treatment plant.

Water sector at Murphy

The Murphy Water sector serves many different water and wastewater companies across the UK and Ireland. We are well-known for our work in infrastructure networks, distribution and complex treatment plants, where we work closely with our clients to develop better engineered solutions. 

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