SOUTHERN Water's projects aimed at reducing the use of storm overflows have obtained two grants from Ofwat's Innovation Fund.

The company succeeded in the fourth Water Breakthrough Challenge, a programme developed to encourage solutions. The first initiative, which secured funding of £1.58m, will aid the development of a water quality monitoring platform that utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse and calibrate data.

The second project received £1m in funding to develop a unique tool to help make informed decisions on sustainable urban drainage solutions (SuDs). The tool, known as SuDS-iQ, will provide a visual, online environment to understand the benefits of SuDs.

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It will be co-developed with partners including Yorkshire Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, local authorities and developers.

Southern Water innovation programme manager, Rory Miles, said: "Innovation is key for activities across Southern Water, from developing new solutions to help us tackle big challenges: from water efficiency to protecting our environment. We need to think creatively and collaborate in and out of the water sector to address these very complex challenges.

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"Both of these projects will help us in our work creating healthier rivers and seas, and will enable us to implement more solutions across our region – through finding the best places to place SUDS, and to support an expansion of our water quality monitoring."

Helen Campbell, senior director at Ofwat said: "There are big challenges in the water industry that must be solved, some are well known and others are less so. In our fourth Water Breakthrough Challenge we called for solutions with potential to deliver wide-scale, transformational change for customers, society and the environment – and that’s exactly what today’s winners have done.

"From raingardens to prevent flooding to green energy from treated sewage, innovations to cut the water sector’s carbon footprint to robots that patrol the pipe network, the winners are all helping shape a more sustainable and efficient water sector."