A successful water sector is fundamental to social well-being and the economic development of our country. Nevertheless, the sector does not receive much deserved recognition nor financial backing. With the challenges of delivering high levels of service with limited resources, our water utilities (the local authorities and council controlled organisations) generally have done a splendid job.
The many challenges ahead, ranging from uneven population growth, aging infrastructure, climate change and many other factors, will likely to test our existing water infrastructure and associated services to reach new performance targets whilst not suffering from reduction in service level or asset failure.
The future depends on what we decide to make it. It may include water systems integrated with artificial intelligence, networks optimised with real time data, and assets that repair themselves, self-healing pipework and many others. The future water sector is likely to be operated by larger organisations that are self-governed and independently regulated. Levels of service will be customer driven, and customers will be able to choose between different services providers.
One thing for sure, the future of our sector will look very different to what it is today. Strong leadership and cultural change will be essential for the sector to thrive and survive in 2067.