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Water innovation for a sustainable world
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Viewpoint
Water innovation for sustainability viewpoint

Wood is on a quest to tap into sustainable solutions that will quench the world’s growing thirst and ensure reliable access to a clean, safe supply of water for generations to come.

Sea changes

Across the world, the water sector is facing some of its greatest challenges.

Many of the most significant risks of climate change relate to water. Extreme weather events and changes to the water cycle add complexity and challenge to the delivery of safe drinking water, especially to the most vulnerable. Around three-quarters of natural disasters are water related. Rising sea levels are compromising our water resources. Populations are shifting, and increasingly urban, yet much of our infrastructure is inadequate for immediate or future needs.

Picture of flooding
Picture of water refinery

The need for a net-zero, resilient and globally sustainable water sector is increasingly critical:

  • Meeting the UN SDG for water could cost nearly $6 trillion
  • 69% of water supply and flood control dams in the US were built before 1970
  • PFAS contamination continues to grow at an alarming rate
  • More than 2.1 trillion gallons of drinking water is lost each year in the US through leaks
  • Estimates suggest that EU states must double current €45 billion annual investment in infrastructure
  • Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are linked to inadequate water and sanitation
  • Yet funding for water projects remains constrained worldwide
People talking

How can infrastructure owners and developers respond?

Meeting these challenges through investment will be critical, but with limited funding, traditional engineering approaches will not be enough to build a resilient, sustainable water sector for the future.

We need new thinking with infrastructure solutions that align and draw on the power of digital technologies, to unlock the value of data and delivering a digital dividend across the lifetime of assets.

Innovation must work hand-in-hand with the world’s increasingly fragile natural water infrastructure through more effective climate and hydrological modelling, and more integrated resource management. Nature-based solutions must also be harnessed, as alternatives to traditional business-as-usual built or ‘grey’ infrastructure solutions.

Innovation to keep water running

Wood’s digitally-enhanced engineering and green infrastructure innovations keep water running – along with the assets and communities that rely on it. At every stage in the water cycle we are developing innovative solutions to manage and conserve this precious resource.

From dynamic modelling and simulation to smart asset management, we combine cutting-edge technologies with experience across the sector to transform water and wastewater management.

Take FloodVue™ for example, using augmented reality to visualise flood risk, impacts of climate change and effectiveness of adaptation measures, greatly enhancing stakeholder engagement.

Flood defences
Natural defences

Harnessing the power of nature

Digital innovation is only part of the picture. Nature based solutions (NBS) make use of natural processes to provide ecosystem services such as enhancing water availability, improving water quality and mitigating flood risk. This holistic and innovative approach lies at the heart of Wood’s ethos, with solutions that deliver on the needs of project stakeholders, natural ecosystems, business and the communities that rely on water every day, such as our award-winning Prime Hook restoration project in Delaware, US.

ADAPT

Mapping your journey to resiliency

As the impacts of climate change intensify, the challenge of resiliency is coming into sharper focus for water sector project developers and operators. Wood approaches this challenge through our structured ADAPT for resiliency roadmap process, screening asset resiliency, identifying technologies and solutions, and underpinning projects with a consistent delivery and value realisation model. Our ResilienceLens™ resilience and ESG measurement tool drives outputs, value and increased ROI for our clients.

With ESG inputs integrated alongside decision-making tools, we enable the solutions needed to create a better world, cherishing water as a most precious resource, critical to all life.

View our viewpoint

Meet our experts
Andy Clevenger 
Principal - VP, Global Technical Lead for Water and Wastewater 
Andy Wallace
Water Sector Director, EII
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