UK ‘lagging behind’ on water technology innovation

The UK's share of the global water technology market could be worth £8.8bn by 2030, providing 71,000 jobs and involving around 960 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), suggests a new report.

The report, HTech0: Tapping the Potential: A Fresh Vision for UK Water Technology, states that despite successful water privatisation, world class consultants and a reputation for fair dealing, the UK has just 3% share of the global water technology market and “lags way behind” pioneering countries such as France, the US, Japan and Germany.

Report lead Mark Lane, chair of British Water and UKWRIP business & economy action group leader, said: “The economic and environmental case for raising the UK’s global game on water technology innovation is compelling.

“But we must act fast. If we don’t make significant changes within the next three years, our competitors will have pulled too far ahead to catch up with,” added Lane.

Published this week by the UK Water Research & Innovation Partnership (UKWRIP), the report analyses the UK’s current and future performance in the global water technology market and highlights global opportunities worth more than $50bn (£30bn) in the next six years.

To meet the report’s 2030 vision of a 10% UK share of the global market, it proposes a strengthened public-private UK Water Research & Innovation Partnership to provide leadership.

It also calls for a sharper focus on commercial opportunities and customer needs, independent national testing, validation and demonstration facilities and a co-ordinated international marketing strategy.

In the report’s foreword, Sir Mark Walport, government chief scientific advisor said: “I welcome the ‘UK plc’ approach to developing this report and the commitment to continuing this approach in the implementation of the findings and actions.

“This will result in a better alignment of research to market opportunities and valuable economic growth in the water technology sector,” added Walport.

Leigh Stringer

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