The Fujitsu Digital Innovation Award: Northumbrian Water Group

Longlisted for a Business in the Community Responsible Business Award

Action and Impact
Flooding remains a big issue in the UK, causing emotional distress, reduced ability to sell or insure properties and creating huge clean-up costs for households and businesses alike. It is an issue pertinent to Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) which owns Northumbrian Water Ltd, one of ten regulated water and sewerage businesses in England and Wales. In 2016, 3,500 of its customers’ properties experienced flooding, and more than 150 of those had to deal with internal flooding.
To tackle the problem, the company’s Asset Performance Analytics (APA) project is digital innovation in action, delivering benefits for customers, the environment and the company. The APA was sparked by a hackathon, an event that is an intense collaboration between web programmers and designers, it leverages big data to deliver intelligence-driven improvements to sewer pump performance.  This results in significant benefits ie reducing flooding incidents and saving energy and money. Using readily available analytical toolsets, APA has gathered years of ‘big data’ to predictively model pump-deterioration rates, enabling proactive maintenance to reduce problems.
The project is delivering ongoing cost reductions of around £4 million over five years. “The early warnings of problems that can now be identified thanks to this innovative use of data, and the proactive methods we are implementing as a result, are helping to reduce the risk of flooding and the problems that come with it,” says NWG’s CEO Heidi Mottram.