Sponsored by
Brightly Software
Our Rainwater
Project Centre


WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how deploying the latest digital technology-enabled solutions, data-driven strategies and best practices can help manage the distribution and management of water resources across our cities and regions, and also offers utilities and authorities an opportunity to improve efficiency and customer service, whilst reducing water scarcity and supporting the drive towards a net zero future.

Qualifying delegates include commissioning, procurement, innovation, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, environmental managers, policy makers and planners from UK water companies and utilities, wastewater and sewer operators, lead local flood authorities (unitary authorities and county councils), city/borough/metropolitan councils, district councils, combined authorities, highways authorities, prime contractors, general insurers, large water consumers, central governmental and regulatory bodies (e.g. Defra, DCLG, Ofwat, Environment Agency, DWI, SEPA), independent industry and consumer organisations (e.g. Water UK, CCW) etc.

Core themes range from smart leakage detection and miniaturisation of sensors, smarter pressure management, asset tracking and connected water operations, modelling and simulation (incl. digital twins), the water company of the future, smart water gully maintenance and utilising smart meters effectively, to digital apps and platforms for demand management, smart telemetry systems for managing flood risk, sustainable drainage systems, smart sewers and wastewater management, innovations in water purification, smart billing and payments, harnessing AI for automation of customer engagement, and using real-time analytics and drones for monitoring water quality and mapping assets.

WATER MANAGEMENT Smart Class 2024 will be hosted at Greencoat Place Conference Centre, London on Wednesday 3rd April, and follows on from the widely acclaimed inaugural edition in Birmingham in 2022!

Delegates will hear from industry movers, shapers and disruptors during initial rapid-fire thought leadership presentations, before moving on to in-depth consultations with experts and peers during the roundtable discussions. In addition, this Smart Class will feature up to 3 keynote presentations giving real world insight into collaborative initiatives, digital journeys and adoptions of emerging, transformative technologies. This half day in-person event is free to attend for bona fide delegates satisfying our registration criteria.

Our 2022 edition attracted the likes of:

Anglian Water • Atkins Global • BIM4Water* • Binnies* • Birmingham City Council • Bristol Water • British Water* • Buckinghamshire Council • Cambridgeshire County Council • CBRE • CIWEM • Coventry City Council • Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales • DEFRA • Dwr Cymru – Welsh Water • England’s Economic Heartland • Environment Agency • Green Valley Group* • Herefordshire Council • HR Wallingford • Jacobs • Lancashire County Council • Medway Council • Metasphere* • Monmouthshire County Council • MWH Treatment* • National Highways • Nazca Consulting • Nottingham City Council • Nottinghamshire County Council • Oxford City Council • Project Centre* • Quest Waste Management • Scottish Water Horizons • Severn Trent • South East Water UK • South Staffs Water • Thames Water • Turner & Townsend • United Utilities • University of Exeter • University of Stirling • University of West London • Waterman Aspen • West Yorkshire Combined Authority • Xylem* • Yorkshire Water etc
*represented amongst the sponsors

Previous presentations addressed the following topics:

The artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) – a digital journey to transforming the water sector: supporting the drive towards a net-zero future where end to end processes are fully optimised for changing conditions and assets never fail unexpectedly • Design and deployment of the UK’s first storm preparation ready intelligent sewage pumping stations • Developing “SPS dynamic risk matrix” – dynamic  flooding prediction for sewage pumping stations enabling proactive interventions • Fully autonomous waste catchment powered by AI and smart sensors – an OFWAT awarded project through the water breakthrough challenge • Using monitoring and other innovative technologies to mitigate pollution caused by wastewater spills – a holistic, all-in-one approach to managing wastewater levels • How utilities are able to intelligently manage their wastewater networks by combining wastewater level data with historic, current and forecast rainfall data and, through the use of smart, machine-learning analytics, start to provide intelligent alarms • Zero pollution vs zero spills • Learning from the past, preparing for the future – AMP6 and AMP7 • Legislation – impact of the Environment Act, PR 24 and storm overflow discharge reduction plan • The EA’s flood and coastal resilience innovation programme – an introduction to the national context of the FCRIP and its ambitions to 2027 • Selected FCRIP projects – Cumbria (NFM, blended finance, community resilience), Rochdale (property flood resilience, insurance), Doncaster (urban SuDS), Cornwall (sand dune protection), Norfolk (community coastal transition) • “Project Groundwater” – innovation, collaboration and challenge in flood risk management: developing, trialling and adopting improved practices in how groundwater flooding is managed, addressing areas of monitoring, mapping, modelling, warning, responding, prevention, resilience and damage reduction, plus research, evaluation and legacy • How sustainable drainage systems can mitigate flood risk and the impacts of climate change • SuDS case study – the South Chingford flood mitigation scheme developed for the London Borough of Waltham Forest: reducing flood risk whilst also providing an opportunity to improve biodiversity and ecology, enhance water quality and enrich the public realm • Enabling data driven insights within Bristol Water – how asset management is driving change to elevate the customer experience • Working with industry experts to develop future technologies (e.g. live data inputs, real time modelling, extended field lab/water quality devices, acoustic loggers, DAMSAT, condition monitoring – portable vibration analysis, PULSE – PRV management system, Data Fix APP, CLIO etc) to prevent leaks, manage dam safety, improve water quality, support customer engagement, deliver near real time network modelling and more • Managing asset information and data for water industry stakeholders – aligning physical assets and asset data to ensure that plant and equipment is being maintained correctly and assets achieve their intended lifecycle and beyond • Driving digital transformation of a sector in support of the national digital twin programme, with a focus on 4D and beyond – BIM4Water’s journey to date and the key work of the 4D and beyond task force and its future plans in supporting the water sector in its adoption of visualisation to drive DX and great collaborative practices etc.

Testimonials and feedback:

Thanks for the opportunity to keynote. I really enjoyed it and hope to see you again in the future”
Control and Automation Architect, Asset Intelligence and Innovation, Severn Trent 

“A great day today in Birmingham attending a Water Management Smart Class run by Smart Classes. There was a range of interesting keynote speakers and innovators from the Environment Agency, Project Centre, Severn Trent and many more. Personal highlights included James Ballard’s presentation on how Artificial Intelligence is transforming water networks, alongside Tom de la Rosa who highlighted key areas of EA funding and Jed Ramsay who presented Project Groundwater. Thanks for facilitating a great day. As a relatively new member of the Water Industry it was great to connect with so many new faces”
Flood and Coastal Risk Consultant, Binnies

“Many thanks for the chance to speak yesterday. It was a really well run event”
Flood and Coastal Innovation Programmes Manager, Environment Agency

“Excellent event. Digital innovation for flood warnings and management of particular interest”
Head of Strategic Networks, West Yorkshire Combined Authority

“Great to join the Smart Water Management knowledge exchange today”
Chair of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Water Reuse & Finish Group

“Thanks for hosting us yesterday. I thought it was an excellent event and I was really pleased to be able to speak. The format is excellent too (timings, venue, food, roundtable discussions). Will certainly be recommending to colleagues in the future”
Project Groundwater Programme Manager, Strategic Flood Management Team, Buckinghamshire Council

“Very well presented and put together. I will definitely be in attendance again”
Senior Business Development Manager SMSTS, Quest Waste Management

“Good event – informative on transferable skills”
Regional Operations Manager – Pumping, Yorkshire Water

“It was a pleasure to attend and a very useful event”
Place Strategy Manager, Nottinghamshire County Council

“This was an interesting event today by Smart Classes. All of the presentations and roundtable discussions were valuable and topics such as digital transformation (of the water industry) and flood management were most interesting”
Research Fellow in Hydro Informatics, University of Exeter

“Thank you for having me today, Smart Classes. It was a very informative and educative conference”
Energy & Sustainability Advisor, CBRE

“It was a great event and very well organised. Congratulations!”
Project Manager, Strategic Flood Management Team, Buckinghamshire Council

“Another fantastic conference by Smart Classes and a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge and expertise. I presented the concepts of interconnected systems and national digital twins, focussing attention on the benefits for the water sector and how data flow and information management will be key in tackling modern day water challenges. Thank you for letting me share and learn amongst our sector peers”
Global BIM Manager at Xylem & Past Chair of BIM4Water (Innovation Sponsor)

“Thanks to the Smart Classes team for organising a great workshop with a wide range of stakeholders!”
Commercial Director, Metasphere (Innovation Sponsor)

“Huge thanks to Smart Classes for hosting the Water Management Smart Class event yesterday. It was great to provide insight to the sector wide work BIM4Water are collaborating on and hopefully we have gained some new members”
National Rehearsal Lead at MWH Treatment & Chair of BIM4Water (Innovation Sponsor)

“An excellent event experience. Helpful programme content, engaging roundtable discussions, excellent opportunities to network…and all of the presentations were good, providing different perspectives”
Green Valley Group (Innovation Sponsor)

“It was fantastic to meet so many at the Water Management Smart Class yesterday, where F. Javier Soto and myself presented on how sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) can mitigate flood risk and the impacts of climate change. We referred to our recent South Chingford flood mitigation scheme, developed for the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It was great to learn from the great work of others in the industry and to see so much interest in how our sustainable approach has significantly reduced flood risks whilst providing an opportunity to improve biodiversity and enhance water quality”
Technical Director, Project Centre (Innovation Sponsor)

“Excellent event, organisation and facilities”
Principal Civil Engineer, Project Centre (Innovation Sponsor)

“It was a pleasure to present in person today at the Water Management Smart Class with my colleagues at BIM4Water and 4D BIM and Beyond. It is an exciting time to be in the water industry, seeing the digital transformation taking place”
BIM Coordinator at Binnies & Chair of BIM4Water’s 4D BIM and Beyond Task Group (Innovation Sponsor)


“Scaling Smart: Anglian Water’s Journey in Smart Water Systems and Collaborative Innovation” – Unlocking the potential of smart water systems has been a transformative journey for Anglian Water, one marked by innovation, collaboration, and overcoming challenges. Join Head of Smart Water, Andy Smith, and Strategic Innovation and Shop Window Lead, Fionn Boyle, as they take us through Anglian Water’s evolution over the last three Asset Management Periods (AMPs).

In this keynote presentation, Andy and Fionn will provide an overview of Anglian Water’s path to developing smart water systems. They will delve into the platforms they’ve deployed, such as the Water Innovation Network and the Shop Window, to foster innovation successfully.

The duo will spotlight some of the most ground breaking solutions that have emerged from this journey, showcasing the pivotal roles played by key universities and suppliers in supporting Anglian Water’s endeavours. Moreover, they will shed light on how the company has nurtured true collaborative partnerships to propel progress.

Scaling innovative solutions isn’t without its challenges, and Andy and Fionn will candidly discuss the obstacles they’ve had to surmount along the way and the strategies employed to overcome them.

In the last few years Anglian Water’s advancement has been the support of initiatives like the OFWAT Innovation Fund, which has not only bolstered Anglian Water but also catalysed progress across the UK water industry.

Andy and Fionn will also emphasise the significance of leveraging international relationships to drive innovation forward. They will articulate why an international perspective is indispensable for innovation and how Anglian Water has harnessed global partnerships to develop cutting-edge solutions.

- Andy Smith, Fionn Boyle

“Improving Flood Resilience in Urban Neighbourhoods through Small Interventions” – This presentation from Project Centre’s Joe Hitchman (Associate) and Swetha Gunasekaran (Senior Urban Designer) will discuss the role of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and urban landscape design in mitigating flood risks at a local scale.

SuDS, designed to mimic natural drainage processes, offer multifunctional solutions to manage stormwater runoff effectively. By integrating SuDS options such as permeable pavements, rain gardens, and swales into urban landscapes, communities can mitigate flood risks while enhancing biodiversity and urban aesthetics.

Urban landscape design complements SuDS by seamlessly incorporating green infrastructure elements into the built environment. Vegetated swales and rain gardens, for instance, not only manage stormwater but also mitigate urban heat islands, improve air quality, and create recreational spaces.

Moreover, these interventions can be tailored to be implemented in a variety of urban settings, and locations, making use of other highway schemes to maximise the benefits of SuDS even where the primary intention is focused around traffic calming. 

The presentation will also discuss how community engagement is crucial for successful flood resilience interventions. Collaboration between local governments, planners, landscape architects, engineers, and community members ensure holistic approaches that address local needs.

- Joe Hitchman, Swetha Gunasekaran

“Blue Heart – Applying the Smart Storm Water Management Wheel in a Local Authority Context” – Effective management of stormwater systems is necessary for protection of both the built and natural environments. However, stormwater management is facing multiple, growing challenges, including climate change, ageing infrastructure, population growth, urbanisation, environmental concerns, regulatory and institutional changes and public awareness.

The ‘smart stormwater management wheel’ provides a flexible and iterative approach for implementing smart functionality of stormwater management systems. It provides a structured methodology for overcoming barriers and benchmarking progress, and may be used to explore trade-offs and relationships between differing levels of implementation for each of the constituent technologies in a smart stormwater system.

The Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme (FCRIP) has funded Blue Heart to develop and trial the smart stormwater management wheel in a local authority context with multiple organisations and agencies for improved and more resilient storm water management. Blue Heart is predominately doing this by deploying a network of sensors to create a digital twin for informing asset management, flood warnings, mitigating flood risk and real time control of water systems. The smart storm water management wheel concept is being applied to monitor and evaluate the success of Blue Heart’s approach to storm water management as well as provide a roadmap for its implementation.

This keynote – to be co-presented by Anna Hastings (Blue Heart Project Manager and Innovative Flood Resilience Project Manager at East Sussex County Council) and Dr Chris Sweetapple (Blue Heart Telemetry Expert and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems) – covers where Blue Heart has reached along this roadmap in its journey towards 2027, where FCRIP expires.

- Anna Hastings, Dr Chris Sweetapple

“Combining the Real and Digital Worlds to Act Flexibly and Sustainably” – With ageing and failing assets it is ever important to manage your assets in the optimum way. Whether that is via sensors in trash screens or smart drainage in flood risk areas, Brightly – a Siemens company and global leader in intelligent asset management – provide the data and the means to be proactive and optimise work schedules.

In this presentation, UK General Manager and Country Lead Hannah Winstanley will demonstrate how using AI and weather predictions can help identify potential blockages based on rainfall forecasts, and also identify where damage or blockages already exist in your drainage network.

In addition, you will learn how local authorities are using Brightly software to create a carbon footprint baseline per activity and a carbon reduction plan:

“Using the Future Highways Research Group methodology, we apply the carbon factors which allows you to build the evidence for process and policy change and positively impact your council’s environmental impact”.

- Hannah Winstanley

“The Innovation Fund in AMP 8: Growing in Size and Growing in Ambition” – Ofwat is the Water Services Regulation Authority for England and Wales. Marc Hannis manages Ofwat’s flagship Innovation Fund, overseeing the delivery of the Water Breakthrough Challenge and Water Discovery Challenge competitions alongside stakeholder relationships and the strategic direction of the fund.

The Innovation Fund was introduced in 2019 as a first for the sector – a £200m fund to catalyse innovation with the overarching objective to support the sector to better meet the needs of, and create long-term value for, customers, society and the environment through innovation. Since then, it has awarded funding to over 75 promising solutions and helped the sector to better coordinate its innovation efforts to ensure best possible outcomes and value for customers. With only a year of the current AMP to go and confirmation that the Innovation Fund will increase in size to at least £400m in AMP 8, Marc will reflect in this keynote on the successes and lessons learned and set out where Ofwat see the Fund going next.

A taster of Marc’s presentation highlights include:

  • Where the fund started and where it is now – short context on the fund’s origins (and where the sector was at that time in terms of innovation capability, capacity and appetite)
  • Early successes for the fund and areas for further development
  • Examples of the breadth of funding awarded
  • Key proposals for evolving the fund in AMP 8 to ensure it has impact and delivers outcomes for customers
- Marc Hannis

“Driving Digital Innovation: Empowering Communities in Urban Rainwater Management” – Our climate is changing, and the need for innovative solutions to address environmental challenges is becoming increasingly evident. Join Co-Founder & COO, Dr Sarah Bunney, as she leads a thought leadership presentation on behalf of Our Rainwater, exploring the transformative potential of digital innovation in urban rainwater management. As industry innovators, Our Rainwater leverages digital solutions to empower householders in capturing and storing rainwater, facilitating its gradual release into the drainage system with the intention of reducing surface water flooding and sewer spills into our waterways.

Throughout the presentation, Sarah will share valuable insights on leveraging innovation, digital technology, and applying a data-driven approach to transform rainwater management practices. By applying advanced analytics, actionable customer insights that inform community-centric rainwater management strategies can be identified. Additionally, Sarah will discuss how digital tools enable the validation of the effectiveness of stormwater management initiatives, ensuring measurable impact and regulatory compliance.

The discussion will spotlight the pivotal role of digital innovation in facilitating meaningful connections with local authorities, communities, and key stakeholders. Through collaborative partnerships, the presentation will showcase how technology acts as a bridge between water companies and communities, fostering engagement and empowerment.

Join Dr Bunney as she leads an exploration of the intersection between innovation, technology, and environmental stewardship, uncovering how digital solutions are reshaping the future of urban rainwater management for resilience and sustainability.

- Dr Sarah Bunney


  • 8:30 am - 9:00 am Registration, Networking and Refreshments
  • 9:00 am - 9:30 am Introduction and Opening Keynote
  • 9:30 am - 10:40 am Expert Presentations
  • 10:40 am - 11:00 am Keynote Speaker 2
  • 11:00 am - 12:40 pm Roundtable Discussions and Consultations
  • 12:40 pm - 1:00 pm Keynote Speaker 3
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Close and Lunch Networking

Share this event
Supported by
Anglian Water
Ofwat Innovation Fund
East Sussex County Council
University of Exeter Centre for Water Systems
Blue Heart project

Stay in touch

Sign up to Smart Classes Digest to receive the latest thought leadership, innovation insights and event updates straight into your inbox.

We offer great opportunities for our sponsors, and would love to hear from potential speakers, contributors or new partners.