What Does a Water-Wise World Mean to Cappagh Browne?

Last month saw World Water Week 2023 take place, a week dedicated to thinking about how people across the globe manage water, and the ideas and innovations which can help to create a water-wise world. We’ll be keeping a close eye on any new ideas coming out of this year’s World Water Week and using this opportunity to reflect on our contribution to the water sector at Cappagh Browne. 

This year’s theme, ‘Seeds of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World’, got me thinking about what a water-wise world means to Cappagh Browne. 

As extreme weather and droughts become more common, the world is waking up to the urgency of protecting our precious water resources. UNICEF estimates that half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025. For us, a water-wise world is one in which businesses and individuals come together to prevent water wastage and support innovative water-saving technologies. 

Ofwat found that UK water companies lost an average of 2.9 million litres of water a day in 2021-22 through leaks. At the same time, demands on our wastewater network are greater than ever as our population increases, new homes are built, and infrastructure needs updating.  

While the huge challenge of upgrading the UK’s water infrastructure remains present, at Cappagh Browne we are making a difference when it comes to fixing wastewater pipe leaks. We are constantly innovating to deliver the best results for our customers and the environment. Our response times are industry-leading, which means we stop wastewater pipe leaks and clear blockages fast. We attend 85% of jobs on the same day and operate a 24/7, 365-days-a-year emergency response service for burst or damaged wastewater pipes.

As water scarcity rises up the agenda for customers, governments and industry, innovation presents solutions to this global problem. At Cappagh Browne we recognise that innovation must be at the heart of a water-wise world. We make use of the latest technology to fix leaks in the fastest time possible and minimise disruption to our customers, prioritising no-dig, trenchless techniques, which cut down on the amount of time we need to get the job done. 

For example, we are the only company in the UK that uses Tubogel, which rehabilitates wastewater pipes with a special sealant, preventing the need to dig down to the pipe. The product is made up of two separate liquid components which react together and harden and solidify to make an enduring stone seal around the leak. Cappagh Browne has been at the forefront of trialling Tubogel with Southern Water, starting in 2019. We sent employees to Munich to develop our expertise on this technology by learning from Remondis, a German company which has successfully used Tubogel to repair thousands of kilometres of wastewater pipes. This allowed us to set up a specialist team to deliver this innovative service with two major schemes currently in progress. 

Achieving a water-wise world will not be possible without investment in water leaders of the future. The industry must do more to equip young people with the knowledge, training and skills to build the water system of tomorrow. We’ve seen at Cappagh Browne the important role that young talent can play in bringing new life and fresh ideas to the industry. Our apprentices and recent graduates constantly push us to be the best that we can be, as much as we are training them and building their skills. Knowledge-sharing between old and young will be key to create a better, more efficient water industry.  

A smarter water system is a better water system and digital innovation must be a cornerstone of a water-wise world. Digitisation and the use of AI present exciting opportunities for the water management industry. Access to smart data can help us to prevent accidents, reduce the amount of time spent investigating issues and working on site, help customers by better tracking incidents, map our network and allow us to proactively react to emerging issues before customers become affected. For example, we capture data before, during and after all our sewer cleaning jobs so that we can design and deliver more efficient cleaning in future programmes.  

We recognise the importance of investing in the latest equipment to help our engineers get the job done in the most efficient way. For example, our helmet camera technology enables field operations and demonstration to be held remotely, so that online participants can see, listen and talk to the person with the head camera. This drastically reduces the time, carbon emissions and cost involved in large groups of people travelling to sites.  

A data-led, technology-first maintenance model across the network will require an upfront investment, however we know it reduces the amount of work needed in the long-run, as engineers can prevent and repair leaks proactively, and respond to incidents faster. 

Ultimately, we cannot create a water-wise world without maintaining and repairing the very infrastructure we all rely on to keep taps running and wastewater flowing. At Cappagh Browne, we are constantly looking to adopt new technologies, ideas and ways of working to provide the best service for our customers and the environment. Digital tools, smart data-led engineering and investment in the workforce of tomorrow are essential to our continuous improvement as a sector – now that’s water-wise.