Empowering Water Utility Innovation

A Pathway to Sustainability

Together with the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), based on a series of collaborative workshops with utility leaders and professionals around the world, Arcadis led the creation of a utility innovation framework providing a clear path forward on how to innovate from a water utility perspective. 

The Arcadis Empowering Water Utility Innovation report highlights the WRF/WE&RF research and innovation framework which allows water utilities to build environments of creativity, experimentation and incubation that will achieve new approaches to serve customers, manage assets, finance investments and realize superior utility performance with the added dividend of enhancing sustainability. Utilities are now in prime position to become innovators that will help lead us into an era of water sustainability.

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The Innovation Engine

A Framework for Utility Innovation

Eight key disciplines for innovative utilities can be distilled into three primary elements: Impact, Capability and Engagement. This framework provides a manageable tool that can be applied to a wide range of water utilities.

Ecosystem Oriented

Environment encouraging growth and maturation of ideas.

People Oriented

Ideators, mentors, adopters leading initiation and application of innovation.

Results Oriented

Tangible and intangible improvement aligned with leadership and organizational philosophy.

The Pathway

As utilities face resiliency, efficiency and quality challenges, their responses often can, and should, include innovations through the innovation engine. These responses lead to the realization of sustainability dividends. For example, to face the efficiency challenge of service continuity, utilities can innovate with integrated asset management and furthermore, realize a sustainability dividend of asset longevity.



The Water Research Foundation, the leading not-for-profit research cooperative that advances the science of water, published the research project led by Arcadis, Fostering Innovation Within Water Utilities.  To learn about the Water Research Foundation Project, visit www.WaterRF.org/FosteringInnovation

To learn about the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and LIFT, visit www.werf.org

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