SWOT Analysis of leakage across the water sector

In February 2024, the Leakage Suppliers working group met to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the water sector’s approach to leakage and where opportunities lie. The following are the outcomes of the meeting:

Participants highlighted the customer’s willingness to pay for uncontrollable leakages and the integration of machine learning for efficient leakage identification as notable strengths. The supply chain’s openness to technology for growth, untapped supplier potential, and collaborative efforts were also emphasized.

Communication challenges across companies, a skills gap resulting from the water industry’s complexity, and an outdated graduate scheme were identified as internal weaknesses. The need for improved procurement processes, a shift towards prevention-focused investment, and better translation of innovation into production were also recognized.

Opportunities discussed included streamlining regulation approval processes, fostering enhanced collaboration among technicians, and implementing innovative work structures. The reduction of non-household customer water consumption, improved structures for nationwide private side leakage, and initiatives beyond leakage, such as Accountancy, UFW, and WINS, were highlighted as positive prospects.

Threats, such as insufficient funding for customer side leakage, uncertainty in leakage scale with non-household customers, and potential rises in customer complaints, were also addressed. Participants expressed concerns about supply-demand risks when analyzing data, competition for skilled workers from other sectors, and negative impacts from press coverage. The event concluded with a call for addressing procurement practices stifling innovation, persistent skills gaps, and ensuring active engagement to prevent potential threats.