Our History

Formation of SBWI (1986)

The SBWI evolved from the Society of British Gas Industries (SBGI now EUA (Energy & Utilities Alliance)), which for some 80 years had looked after the interests of suppliers to the gas industry.  However, a number of members were also active in the water industry and those members regularly met to discuss pipeline and water related issues.  With the advent of privatisation, it became apparent that there was a real requirement for an organisation to be developed specifically for suppliers to the water industry.

Following an open meeting in July 1986, the SBWI was officially launched in November. Initially working out of the SBGI offices, the association headquarters eventually moved into its own premises in Leamington Spa in 1988, and by 1993 the SBWI had become completely independent of its ‘sister’ organisation.  In 1998 the then Executive Director, Anne Kirby, retired and Carol Hickman took up the reins to continue to build on the solid foundations that had been laid and increase the Society’s exposure to the industry.

SBWI becomes SBWWI (2001)

Following discussions with the members of the Sewer Renovation Federation (SRF), they decided to join the SBWI, and the SBWWI was formed. The extra ‘W’ referring to Wastewater and providing a tongue twister for many of us!

Over the years relationships with regulators, Government bodies and other trade organisation have grown considerably, offering members extensive opportunities to participate in meetings and contribute to various reports and White Papers.

In 2008 the Society introduced its Water Dragons competition providing a unique opportunity for companies to pitch product, service or process innovations to a panel of senior water company executives: ‘Water Dragons”.

2014 saw the retirement of Carol Hickman and the appointment of Paul Horton as Chief Executive Officer. Paul’s previous experience includes working with CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management); British Water and CBI (Confederation of British Industry).

SBWWI becomes Future Water Association (2015)

In 2015 the Society changed its name to Future Water Association to reflect the forward-thinking views of the organisation and its expanding membership.

Our annual Water Dragons competition is now running 3 heats per year with a Final to decide the overall winner. The Association has also taken steps to open up the competition to students in the ‘Young Water Dragons’ competition run in conjunction with the Big Bang Fair.

Opportunities for members now include:

  • Water Utility Engagement Meetings
  • Conferences
  • Tier 1 Engagement days
  • Annual Innovation Awards Lunch,
  • training programmes (in partnership with Institute of Water, Sheffield University and some of the water companies)
  • Charity Golf Day

Future Water Association manages the secretariat for the UKSTT (UK Society for Trenchless Technology) and works closely with PIG (Pipeline Industries Guild) and CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors Association)

To find out more on what the Future Water Association can offer you please visit our Member Benefits page.