A new focus on water (Day 234)

Eye looking over waterWhen universities establish a new research centre it’s worth taking note.

Not just because it’s a way to further our knowledge, but, in the case of the University of Bath’s new Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC), it reflects the fact there are growing and significant challenges ahead.

The issues go well beyond the obvious of providing clean water for everyone – although with a growing population this will be hard enough.

The challenges include a completely fresh approach to using water more efficiently – whether it’s the treatment of our waste, use by industry, processing of our food or consumption at home.

WIRC has been established to provide a unique environment for conducting research into water technologies and resource management.

It’s a collaboration between the University of Bath and Wessex Water and has ambitions to contribute to future water policy and the development of innovative and integrated sustainable water treatment systems.

The new centre will focus on five major research areas: water treatment, water resources, water management, water and public health, and water environment and infrastructure resilience.

Tim Mays

Tim Mays – University of Bath

IChemE Fellow Tim Mays is head of the department of chemical engineering at Bath and currently acting director of the centre.

He said: “Water is the most important natural resource on earth. With an ever-growing demand on limited water resources, it is essential that we approach sustainable water management in an innovative and integrated way.

“By bringing academic experts across disciplines together with industry leaders, the University of Bath is setting the standard for the future of water research.

“The establishment of a new centre to coordinate and consolidate the many research projects taking place here is a welcome and natural move.”

Encouragingly, the centre will be built upon a diverse, multi-disciplinary team from the natural sciences and engineering together with social, economic, political, and policy studies and business management.

They will also develop strong links with external partners including utility companies, technology suppliers, and researchers from across the UK and internationally to explore solutions to the most pressing questions in water innovation.

This all sounds very positive and will create some strong foundations, especially as the University of Bath already have a great track record in water research.

Some of their research includes: producing biogas from bacteria removed from the sewage treatment process; using waste seashells from the food industry as a sustainable way of removing chemicals from waste water; developing more efficient ways of detecting fatal microbes in water; looking at new ways of engaging with the public to help water companies look after our most precious resource – water.

You can find out more about these research projects and more online.

It’s great to see new centres like these being created and IChemE members making a significant contribution. Congratulations to everyone involved.