Establishing 'intelligent assets'

a visible network

means better services


Establishing 'intelligent assets'

a visible network

means better services


Focused on moving forward

Yorkshire Water are seeking to develop visibility in the network.  This includes co-design of intelligent networks and assets – the broader initiative being managed by +ADD over the coming year seeks engagement from any supplier, research or innovator who can support development of:

  • Visibility of what is happening in the waste water management network
  • To  better discern priorities and respond efficiently to actionable alerts
  • Offers the ability to make automated decisions and learn
  • Offers the potential to radically reduce pollution and predict internal flooding









What's the programme?

The programme's overall aim is to create visible waste water infrastructure.

This relates to several goals including reducing internal sewer flooding by 70% and reducing pollution incidents by 40%.

While the aim is simple the change requirement and associated challenges are quite complex, interrelated and potentially require new ways of working. These include selection of future proof telemetry, data management infrastructure and compatible sensors. Further substantial changes to data management capability and analytics to accommodate data scaling and increase effective alarm management and actionable decision making.

We started with an IdeaLAB in December 2017 and this will be followed by a range of events including a hackathon and two innovation sprints on different aspects of the challenge over the coming  year. 

Our goal is to discover technology led and data driven opportunities to have a substantial impact on operational performance in predicting and avoiding pollution incidents, and reducing the level of internal flooding incidents.

Following a highly successful programme 9 consortia proposed a range of integrated digital, telementry and sensor projects.

We are presently building business cases for investment, establishing routes forward for the initiative participants. 

Yorkshire Water is committed to the initiative and is actively seeking to invest in resultant projects having set aside resources and budget to accelerate innovation and adoption of promising solutions.

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In December 2017

Thanks to the 120 participants who joined us at the beginning of this journey...

Participate in our programme launch event put vendors and agencies in a good position to understand the goals and opportunities available. 


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In March 2018

Yorkshire Water are investing in increasing their live data 5-fold in scale from new sensor networks.

In early 2018 we are delivering a data sandpit and hackathon with sponsored places and prizes to explore alarm data logic and how best to prioritise actionable insight in real time.


In May and August 2018

Building on your contributions to thinking in we have begun to deliver innovation design sprints to enable collaborative business proposals in support on selecting sensors, telemetry and associated operationalisation.

The sprints will provide support to enable topical developments and shape business cases for investment.

Our goal is to ensure clear roadmap and future consideration as well as better decisions in the short term.  

Whats next?

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  • Local and national analytics agencies
  • Regional and national universities
  • Sensor vendors
  • Telemetry vendors
  • Analytics platform vendors
  • GIS vendors
  • Broader network management vendors
  • BI specialist agencies both from the industry and different sectors.

The telemetry and sensor mix sprint was completed in May in collaboration with the Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire in Bradford.  We are now finalising a shortlist of projects to progress and exploring best means to de-risk these for Yorkshire Water.


What are the goals?

The programme has focussed on defining and validating collaborative business cases for combinations of telemetry and sensors providing optimal coverage, value for money and future proofing.  Our goal has been to develop a solution giving best coverage including small bore pipes which, notoriously don't have a suitable solution both operationally and economically.  This is a challenge due to the fact most failures occur in small bore environments.

The initiative will provide an opportunity for component vendors and those with both pre-market and existing solutions to work together to create new solution concepts.  The output will be business cases for investment in POC (Proof of Concept) systems, design and deliver and trial models.

We will be joined by experts and stakeholders from Yorkshire Water as well as a host of professionals in grant funding, supply chain innovation practitioners and other enablers to support development of different thinking and new form projects.

Key areas of focus include:

  • Seeking to overcome challenges of offer versus needs (the demand for integrated solutions from multiple vendors). 
  • Creating an ideal mix of sensors providing actionable insight  - we will be sharing the outputs of the recent alarm management hackathon.
  • Understanding compatibilities of system hardware and software. 
  • Considering telemetry requirements for different types of sensors and use in different aspects of the network/ scenarios.
  • Considering data governance, harmonisation and standards. 


For more information on the programme please contact


Sensor and Telemetry Mix

No silver bullets!

Sensor and Telemetry Mix

No silver bullets!

Developing the telemetry and sensor mix business case

In May we are moving to the next stage.  The wise management at Yorkshire water recognise:

  • We don't know what we don't know
  • True insight and better decisions require excellence and actionable insight from diverse sources and a range of sensors
  • Everything can't be achieved at once - but we must consider scalability and future optimisation
  • It's highly unlikely one vendor will be able to provide the best solution - There are NO silver bullets
  • We don't want preclusive systems and traditional discrete OEM protocols, and un-collaborative solutions
  • We need experienced suppliers, new faces and even need pre-market vendors to combined efforts and provide solutions
  • We seek a roadmap for both short and medium term.

We are hosting a design sprint on the 14-16th May.  The venue will be Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire, Digital Exchange, Bradford.

The sprint will be an opportunity for organisations to work with Yorkshire Water's team to develop a clear definition of needs, better specification and to demonstrate relevant solutions to the team.  Beyond this we will be enabling organisations to work together to build business cases for mixed and topical solutions investment as part of the visible networks programme.

If you have relevant systems and solutions to consider, premarket developments or whole system components you should consider attending.  If you would like to participate you can pre-register your interest by emailing



Why do we need to change?

Why do we need to change?

more about the challenge

 A blockage in Harrogate (Wipes and luxury toilet paper)

A blockage in Harrogate (Wipes and luxury toilet paper)

While infrequent, Yorkshire Water understand that internal flooding can be one of the most unpleasant things you can experience in your home... 

Sewer flooding is the most unpleasant type of flooding, especially in the home.  There can be a number of causes. For example:

• The sewer is too full
• A blocked or collapsed sewer
• A pumping station failure

Tree roots may cause damage to sewers, and problems may also occur as a result of unsuitable items being put into the sewer, for example wipes, fats, cotton buds, sanitary items as well as builders’ rubble.

Flooding can also occur due to circumstances out of our control as a result of exceptional rainfall, rivers overflowing or internal plumbing issues.

One of the most common causes of operational problems and sewer flooding is a ‘soft blockage’. These blockages are caused by, for example, wipes being flushed down the toilet and cooking fat being poured down the sink. 


The Challenge

The Challenge

Reasons for pollution and internal flooding affecting customers



A wide range of factors affect potential pollution events including weather, social factors, infrastructure condition and damage, pump failures and blockages to name a few.

Sewers sometimes flood during or after heavy rain if they are unable to cope with the amount of water. However, more commonly it is how we use our sewers and what we put down them that causes problems.

Many incidences of flooding could be avoided by not flushing items such as:

  • Wipes
  • Nappies
  • Sanitary towels
  • Cotton buds
  • Tampons and applicators
  • Condoms
  • Kitchen roll

Fat, oil and grease harden as they cool and cause blockages and contribute to pump failure if poured down plugholes.

Internal sewer flooding

Very few people are affected by public sewers flooding their home or garden, but for those who are it is an extremely unpleasant and distressing event. 

If sewage enters a building, it is called ‘internal flooding’. If it floods gardens, or surrounding areas such as roads or public spaces it is called ‘external flooding’.

Sewer flooding can be caused by:

  • blockages in a sewer pipe
  • failure of sewerage companies’ equipment
  • the sewer being too small to deal with the amount of sewage entering it
  • too much rainwater entering the sewers e.g. from roads, houses and fields
  • rivers and watercourses that have overflowed and flooded the sewers through manholes
  • groundwater levels rising after long periods of rainfall and entering the sewer.

The cause of the problem may be some distance away from where the sewer flooding is happening.