UK water technology sector to boost economy by £8.8 billion by 2030

11 March 2014

UK Water Research & Innovation Partnership press release

The UK's share of the global water technology market could be worth £8·8 billion by 2030, providing 71,000 jobs and involving around 960 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), suggests a new report published today by the UK Water Research & Innovation Partnership (UKWRIP).

The first comprehensive attempt to analyse the UK's current and future performance in the global water technology market, 'HTech0: Tapping the Potential: A Fresh Vision for UK Water Technology' highlights global opportunities worth over $50 billion in the next six years alone.

But despite successful water privatisation, world class consultants and a reputation for fair dealing, the UK has just 3% share of the global water technology market and lags way behind pioneering countries such as France, the US, Japan and Germany.

To meet the report's 2030 vision of a 10% UK share of the global market, the report proposes four essential steps: a strengthened public-private UK Water Research & Innovation Partnership to provide leadership; a sharper focus on commercial opportunities and customer needs; independent national testing, validation and demonstration facilities and a coordinated international marketing strategy.

In the report's foreword, Sir Mark Walport, government chief scientific advisor, comments:

I welcome the 'UK plc' approach to developing this report and the commitment to continuing this approach in the implementation of the findings and actions. This will result in a better alignment of research to market opportunities and valuable economic growth in the water technology sector.

Report lead Mark Lane, chair of British Water and UKWRIP business & economy action group leader, calls for urgent action:

The economic and environmental case for raising the UK's global game on water technology innovation is compelling. But we must act fast. If we don't make significant changes within the next three years, our competitors will have pulled too far ahead to catch up with.

Successful SME UK Flood Barriers strongly supports a more proactive approach. Frank Kelly, CEO, commented:

We are a world leader in passive flood defence but still find it difficult on occasion to access international markets. As this report highlights, coordinating and promoting the sector in a commercially-focused way will definitely help us make more impact on the global stage.

UKWRIP is now developing a costed business plan to deliver its four essential steps and welcomes offers of support moving forward.

Further information

To arrange interviews with Mark Lane or other authors, or to follow up on the report, please contact:

Faith Culshaw
UKWRIP coordinator


1. UKWRIP provides leadership and facilitates coordination of water research and innovation initiatives concerned with UK and global water security and the global water market. It brings together government, industry, third sector and research communities.

UKWRIP is part of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership, which is led by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); it is facilitated by LWEC in partnership with the Government Office of Science.

Press release: 06/14