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Thames Water’s £1bn digital injection to revolutionise the water sector

The UK’s biggest water and waste company is pledging to invest up to £1bn in cutting-edge technology over the next six years in a bid to “revolutionise” its operations and to boost efficiency by 20%.

As it prepares to deliver its latest five-year plan, which it will have to re-submit to Ofwat by 1 April, Thames Water wants to meet the challenges of population growth and climate change by embedding the latest technology into its practices.

Built on the feedback of more than one million customers across London and the Thames Valley, the organisation will undertaking measures like installing 700,000 domestic smart meters to put people in control of their water use.

Between now and 2025, the company’s in-house specialists will work with market-leading partners to roll out a new customer care platform to personalise service for customers, with information displayed relevant to where they live.

Central to its digital transformation will be its new command centre capability which will increase trunk mains monitoring by 25% and take live readings from up to 200,000 sewer depth monitoring points to prevent pollutions. It will link-up all its engineers to a smartphone app giving total network visibility at street level, with a host of real-time information.

John Beaumont, Thames Water chief digital officer, hailed the company’s digital ambitions as a “landmark and transformative moment” by taking the old and making it fit for the future. 

“We’re doing this by building a digital-first water company that will deliver an ever-improving service for our customers and dramatically boost efficiency across the board,” he added. “Real-time data management and visibility will allow us to anticipate issues before they happen, speed up and personalise service, protect and enhance the environment, and keep taps flowing. We’re extremely ambitious in our targets and relentless in our drive to use the most effective, modern tools to ramp-up performance and deliver a brilliant experience to our customers.”

As part of the technology revolution, Thames Water say it will further improve “frontline operational capabilities” through a digital app, and greatly enhance its monitoring of water pipes and sewers using sensors and acoustic loggers to create a real-time nervous system to help anticipate and prevent incidents or speed up response times.