We are part of a major national consortium which will generate the knowledge needed to prioritise, de-risk and provide evidence for government and industry investment in the UK’s infrastructure.

Key Facts

    • We are part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure & Cities (UKCRIC) – a nationwide group of universities working to improve our understanding of critical infrastructure.
    • We will receive an investment of £7.4 million to enhance and extend existing onsite industrial-scale water and wastewater test facilities.

  • Funded by UK Government; this capital investment was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in the 2015 Autumn Statement

Impact of our research

This is one of the largest collaborative research capital investments in the UK, outside national security and medicine.

Our work as part of UKCRIC will be to provide a knowledge base to secure the long-term functioning of the UK’s water services and generate innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

Research is focused on treatment and distribution processes; future technologies like low energy treatment and nutrient and energy recovery; condition monitoring and performance assessment including development of repair techniques which are less disruptive to supply; enhancing resilience; system-wide operation and control; and integrated data systems.

Why the research was commissioned

More than £25 billion will be invested in the UK’s water infrastructure over the next five years but these systems face significant challenges in the form of climate change, a growing and increasingly affluent population, and an asset base that includes over 800,000km of sewer and water supply pipes with an estimated average age of 70 years.

Lack of evidence and poor coordination of research facility development and utilisation have hindered the exploitation of innovations which have the potential to increase the resilience and sustainability of water services.

The Urban Water Innovation and Test Facilities funded through UKCRIC at Cranfield, Sheffield and Newcastle will enable UK and international collaborative research to transform our understanding of water infrastructure degradation and failure mechanisms.

Why Cranfield?

Our expertise in water science is well established. We have long standing experience of working with water utilities and government, and already host a number of unparalleled industrial-scale facilities in water treatment.

Facilities used

The UKCRIC investments will fund:

  • high-density monitoring of onsite utility service infrastructures
  • a new monitoring, control and visualisation centre
  • a reservoir / storm water management facility
  • a second pilot hall for potable water applications (to complement our existing wastewater pilot hall)
  • a test and control loop for investigating the build-up of fats, oils and greases in sewers
  • and a preventative maintenance / remote repair and robotics rig.