Water Talkers


This is our blog where we are going to regularly post updates on the community over the coming weeks and share highlights from the community. Please do respond and post any comments or share feedback that you may have here. Thank you.


Thank you Water Talkers!!

Posted by Chloe Booker (Admin) Apr 13, 2015

Dear Water Talkers!

Thank you so much for your contribution to the Water Talkers community. It has been a very friendly, informative and enjoyable place to be over the past 6 weeks....and the perspectives you have shared are incredibly useful for the water companies. Lots of reviewing and analysing lies ahead! Here are some specific thanks from the project sponsor, Steve Whipp, who is project manager at UKWIR. 

I'd like to thank all the Water Talkers community for your enthusiasm and input to the site and the discussion around the topics. The whole idea for the project was to gather views from customers and to get your perspective and ideas around the topics. The water industry historically took the approach of just getting on with the job of delivering safe water and taking away sewage to make it safe. Nowadays customers are much more involved with the industry and for example the five year investment programmes are hugely influenced by the agenda that customers set in terms of priorities and willingness to pay for improvements to service. Water is a critical resource as many of you have recognised and the water companies recognise that a key to achieving sustainability for the future lies in working with customers; just as we have been doing. 

The basis for the project was to see whether new novel ideas could be created by listening to customers in this new way, taking advantage of open innovation. I think the results are "about-in" as they say in election speak and I can see some very interesting ideas that the water companies will be able to take forward. We will hold a meeting to disseminate the findings to the water companies all of which are UK Water Industry Research subscribers. 

So thanks again for your input each and every one of you. Your voice has been heard and will inform the companies as they set about addressing the issues we've covered. There may be future consultation on other topics and if this was the case we'd love to involve you again. 

Facilitation has been carried out with a lot of work "back-stage" so thanks to all at 100%Open who have made this all work so seamlessly. 

Whether you were a prize winner or not please be assured that we will be acting on the ideas and you may well see evidence in the way water companies work in the future. Watch out for bath stickers and the like. 

Please also accept my thanks and assurance that your input is valued and you have helped. 

Steve Whipp UKWIR Project Manager

It's Concepts Time!

Posted by Chloe Booker (Admin) Mar 31, 2015

Hello Water Talkers! 

Thank you so much for your ongoing participation with the Water Talkers community. Your votes and comments have been fantastic and have helped us to prioritise your ideas and to see how they can develop. 

As promised, those awarded with badges will be contacted to receive water efficiency prizes from Thames Water. In addition, £25 vouchers are going to the originaters of the top 3 ideas per challenge. Check out the winners at the bottom of this email!

Based on your brilliant ideas, the Water Talkers team have been developing concepts which we will be publishing very shortly, starting with Water Aware. Please VOTE and COMMENT on these concepts. Think about whether you would use these concepts or get involved if they were rolled out? If not, why not? How could it be improved or made more interesting?

We need to hear from YOU!!! The person who provides the most insightful comments and offers the most productive builds will be awarded £150. We also have a hand pump from Affinity Water to give away. 

Get involved with this exciting final stage!

Gina, Chloë and Katie


Water Aware: aster1x - Celebrity Environmental Challenge / HammyHamster - Reason to Save / aoc27 Bottled Water

Meaningful Measures: burttt - pebbles?? / arequipa bath stickers could be a fun way to learn / Lewis Jones - water calculator

Loo Litter: Kat32 - if it's not a 1 or 2 don't flush it down the loo / bambi wipes on the beach / Jimn Lifting the lid!

We are a little over half way through our ideas phase here in Water Talkers. It is now time to start voting and developing these ideas…so that we can make them as specific, tangible and imaginative as possible!

To help get your creative juices flowing, here is a little exercise that you can try:

Take a pencil, and place it before you. Have a look at it and then write a list of everything it could possibly be, at any scale. Your list may go something like this: Pen, tree trunk, caber, telegraph pole, arrow... You’ll get to a point where you think - yep, that's about it, got to go make dinner now.....but hang on, please, give it more time, don't stop til you've added 15 more things. This also works with a tennis ball, a match box….anything simple.

Forcing your brain to be creative does good things to it! You might find yourself thinking in words or images. The longer you give it - the more creative your ideas will be. Don’t edit yourself either. However daft, just write it down.

Now we are working on these ideas we have together, force yourself through that idea barrier and don’t be shy to add any builds to idea posts. Even if your build is a bit odd, it may spark off something brilliant in someone else.

See you around in Water Talkers.

Image: What's the Point by Neville Nel on Flickr

Water is a precious resource. Less than 0.01% of water on earth is accessible freshwater, and with the global population projected to rise to over 7.5 billion people by 2020, there will be less water available per person. Combined with an unpredictable climate and a growing population, it’s important that we all manage our water supplies. Other reasons to save water in the UK include: 


  • If you use less water you are likely to save on your energy bills too. According to the Energy Saving Trust, approximately 21% of a household heating bill relates to heating water for showers, baths and hot water taps. This does not include kettles, washing machines and dishwashers, which use additional energy. 
  • Carbon emissions are produced from pumping, treating and heating water in the home. The energy used to heat water emits an average of 875kg of CO2 per household per year - equivalent to the CO2 emissions produced from driving over 1,700 miles in an average family car.


Our experience with water here in the UK, however, bolsters the perception that water is in plentiful supply.We turn on the tap and a seemingly interminable supply of water comes out. How, then, can we create a sense of value towards water?

People have different reasons for saving water. Some do it for financial reasons; others for environmental reasons. Arguably the strongest factor, however, that encourages people to save water is experience. Let me explain…

Stephanie and I (both Asset Engineers at Affinity Water) visited Stevenage Town Centre earlier this week to promote water efficiency. Among the many people we spoke with, we came across an individual who placed water saving high on his agenda, even managing to convince his wife to install six water butts in their garden.

Upon asking what it was that encouraged him to be so water efficient, he recalled his younger days. At the age of 11 in 1947, post-war rationing was gradually being withdrawn, yet access to water was still limited. He recalled having to wait for a container of water that would be delivered to his family by train. A fresh supply would come once a week. Without any running water, this individual had no option but to be economical with his consumption.

This individual experienced a scarcity of water in 1947 and that experience has stayed with him. He valued water then and despite the ease with which we obtain water nowadays, he still values water.

The question, therefore, is how can people here in the UK experience scarcity of water despite the ease with which we obtain it? Whatever the mechanism, experience can raise the value one holds towards water. At Affinity Water we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with people and encourage water efficiency. If you have any stories, comments or ideas relating to value creation around water, we’d love to hear them.

image from http://www.tanks-direct.co.uk

Hello fellow Water Talkers!

Thanks so much for another great week online, featuring our established crowd and some excellent newcomers, creating 106 new ideas discussed with 1263 comments. What's exciting is that we are gradually moving away from excellently logical ideas in our three challenges and towards the novel, the interesting and the left of field.

But before we can take these ideas forward, we want them to be as great as they can be. Which means that we are going to use the coming week to prioritise and develop your fantastic contributions. Here's where you can take an idea for a walk and come up with builds that really make them sing; do not be afraid to be weird and wonderful.

We need to know how you feel about them and what your favourite ideas are so far. If you were the water companies, which would you choose?

So... we are going to change it up a bit. We are going to give you an Ideas Amnesty for this weekend only and it will be your final opportunity to contribute new ideas for consideration. From Monday, you won't be able to post any new ideas but you will be able to COMMENT and VOTE on the exisiting ideas. To really get you into the voting spirit, you'll even be able to vote on the comments! You can now also vote DOWN as well as UP! A down vote is just as useful a barometer of feeling as an up one so please use both. We'll be upping the amount of points you get not only when you vote, but when someone votes for you, too.

As before, we will be zeroing points to level the playing field again and we'd now like to set a goal of 20 votes each. In return, you'll get a prize and a badge. We really want you to have your say and the votes will help us to narrow down the top 3 ideas per challenge. So let's get voting!

And without further ado, onto this week's prize winners!

We'll be sending each winner of the top 2 voted ideas per challenge a £20 Amazon voucher! As of the writing of this, you are:

Water Aware: Water Aware Day posted by Kat32 and TV Sponsorship posted by aster1x 

Meaningful Measures: catch a shower posted by snowdrop36 and Online account posted by aoc27

Loo Litter: If it's not a 1 or 2 don't flush it down the loo posted by Kat32 and Tampons posted by aster1x

We'd also like to recognise louisdavidallen by giving him our "A for Effort" prize! Louis has been a consistent participant throughout and we especially love that he posts a photo with every single idea. Nice work! And also George Richardson for his "Proactive Posting". He has commented and posted consistently during the platform so far.... Both of you will be receiving £15 Amazon vouchers for your efforts!

That's it from us this week - now get your fingers on your mouses and exercise your right to vote!

Gina, Katie & Chloë

Greetings fellow Water Talkers!

If you haven't dipped into Water Talkers for a week, you'll be amazed how chatty and productive it has been. In the three challenges on offer since last Friday we made 118 idea posts, and there were an incredible 1762 comments. Scorching!

Please pop in and join the next challenges. The points will all be reset today, and so it will once again be a level playing field. We'd like as many of you as possible to join in to create ideas for UK Water Industry Research.

This is where you can really get creative and imaginative and go all blue sky on us! The challenges are all about ideas to solve issues and we think this will be more enjoyable still than last week. The challenges you will recognise, you've been warming up for them for a week! Some of you have already had, or sparked off, ideas - if that's the case, then please post them up in the new challenges to get us off to a flying start.

Water Aware - ideas please for how to make water saving more fun, and to persuade people who don't currently save water, reasons that they should.

Meaningful Measures - what new ways could we talk about measuring water consumption in these different activities? How could we more meaningfully measure all the different ways that we use water?

Loo Litter - How do we stop people putting things other than pee, paper and poo down their loos?

Prizes this week to: 

£15 Amazon vouchers each for The Leaderboard Top 3 (as of writing this email) Louisdavidallenaoc27 and aster1x. Well done! £15 also goes to the Top Voted Ideas in the three Challenges. That's Bambi and anfieldace sharing the prize in Think Water, Smeachen in How Much Is A Lot, and Iceglitter in Out of Sight Out of Mind. 'Newcomer' of the week goes to Bizzie1956, and we have two prizes we've called 'Say It Like It Is' this week which go to Judith Sherlock for Condoms and Anfieldace for his honest posts and comments!

Next week's Prizes will be along the same lines and we will also have some water efficiency gizmos from Thames Water to send to you! 

Righto, that's it from us for the moment - enjoy unleashing all your outlandish, bonkers, wild or jolly sensible ideas on us, and see you around in Water Talkers,

Gina, Katie & Chloë

Every drop counts

Posted by Steve whipp Mar 9, 2015

Just because it seems to rain a lot in the UK doesn’t mean we can waste water. Humans, animals and plants need water and without it there would be no life on Earth. Although water seems to be an unending resource for us in rainy Britain the truth is that water is a scarce resource and for one in nine people in the World, access to clean drinking water is not available. At the recent World Economic Forum meeting water was identified as the top global risk in terms of impact.  So we need to protect the precious water we have because once it is lost it is gone forever.

We can do lots of things including reducing waste, protecting the clean water we have by stopping contamination, reducing the amount of water we use every day (in the UK the average water use is 150 litres per person every day) and encouraging industry, including agriculture, to be efficient.

Many great ideas have already been implemented and we commonly see taps in public bathrooms that close themselves off. We also see low water use or even waterless loos which are very effective. Energy efficient shower heads are offered by many water companies and we see washing machines that do a great job but use a fraction of the water. Industry and agriculture are also playing their part by conserving and re-using water and by developing drought resistant crops.

Water in the UK is taken from lakes and from underground storage as well as from rivers and the amount taken from each varies between regions. We have seen droughts in the UK from time to time where measures have had to be taken to conserve water by using hosepipe bans. These are still quite rare but could become more common with climate change. Growth in population around the World will only increase the stress on water.

If we can learn to use less water we can reduce the number of times that droughts occur and we can ensure that the future is more sustainable. The key to ensuring a future for our children and grandchildren lies in the way we use water and making sure that all people get the message. So the challenge is about how we can get the message across and in a way that makes it personal and encourages changes in behaviour. 

Greetings fellow Water Talkers,
What a fantastic starting week it's been for our watery community - our Water Appreciation challenge has had 76 ideas and a massive 547 comments from you. Thank you so much for plunging in! In this newsletter we will reveal the first 10 prize winners and introduce the 3 new challenges. This means that the current challenge is now finished and although it will technically be archived, we will leave it up for everyone to see. 
So, onto the prizes! The winning format this week goes like this, for each challenge the prizes will be awarded to: 3 x top leaderboard, 3 x most interesting posts, 2 x most supportive community members and 2 x top voted ideas.
Do Not Be Alarmed!  We are going to record and reset the points for everyone after each challenge phase has ended - so your points will disappear now that the new challenges have gone up and you all have a level playing field again. You'll also notice that points aren't everything, quality over quantity is important, as is voting - please use your vote, the voting button is just beside and to the left of the top of any idea. Prize winners are decided by the moderating team, and the project team from 100%Open and UK Water Industry Research.
So, without further ado...
The winners today are:
3 x top leaderboard
George Richardson, M.B.E.
3 x most interesting posts
2 x most supportive community members
2 x top voted ideas
.....who will all get £10 of Amazon Vouchers. Well done! Prize amounts will increase during the project, with the top overall prizes worth £150, and there are also water saving Gizmos and a fab hand pump water sprayer (Thank you Affinity Water!) up for grabs. 
And now....New Challenges!
Prepare your minds everyone, these challenges should stretch you into important research territory. Have a think, be honest and let's really get to the bottom of some of these issues. There is more information and criteria available on Water Talkers but in droplet form here are the new challenges, open now, for a week. 
Challenge Title: Think Water
We'd like you to tell us why people don't think about saving water, and how you think they could be persuaded to.
Challenge Title: How much is lot?
How do you judge how much water you use? We’d like to know how you measure the water that you use every day. Do you visualise it, time it, measure it by ££ or litres? Or do you even measure it at all?
Challenge Title: Out of sight, out of mind.
What do people put down their toilets other than pee, paper and poo, and more importantly, why do they put other stuff down there?
I can hear your brains whirring already!
Wishing you a great weekend, see you soon in Water Talkers,

We're all ears.....

Posted by Steve whipp Mar 3, 2015

Thanks to everyone you all for all of your brilliant contributions to this forum so far. I just wanted to share a little bit of background to why this community is so important to UKWIR, the UK water industry research organisation and network.

Water is a precious and finite resource but most people don't really realise it, especially in the UK where it rains a lot. It is very easy to take water for granted but it is vital to our wellbeing and also in ensuring there is food to eat and that we have the energy we need. In the longer term, we are all going to have to have coordinated approach to use water more efficiently.

Of course this means the water companies will need to act and operate differently. There is a huge amount still to do of course, but there is a lot going on in this space already e.g. we are currently seeing the largest investment in our water network infrastructure in a generation. 

A major opportunity for water companies lies in working closely with the communities we serve and ensuring there is understanding about the challenges we face to ensure the future is sustainable. The information revolution provides a great chance to work with customers to help ensure that people not only  understand about the issues but are also able to help making suggestions about what can be done – the water companies don’t have all the answers. That's where this community comes in. We are trying through use of social media to see what great ideas you might come up with and that the water companies could adopt. That is what this forum is all about.

Thanks in advance for your creativity, ideas, and enthusiasm. I can assure you that every idea will be looked at.

Steve Whipp, UKWIR Project Manager


Welcome to Water Talkers

Posted by Chloe Booker (Admin) Feb 26, 2015

Thanks for joining our exciting online community where you have the opportunity to share your stories, opinions and insights on different topics relating to water. From making water saving more fun to how we can help people to put just pee, paper and poo down the loo. We are interested in any and all thoughts you have on these subjects, or comments you have on other people's submissions, and there will be prizes to be won along the way.

The platform is being run by UKWIR - UK Water Industry Research who want to get fresh insight and ideas from you, to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing water operators in the UK. UKWIR want to understand why people feel the way they do about water, and how we can get everyone more interested in water related issues…so that we can encourage behaviour change for greater public good. 

Why not start now? Complete your profile so that other community members can get to know you better. A picture for your profile can be you, or, if you're shy, your cat, your favourite set of taps, or anything else!

Dive in!


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