In a bid to enhance sustainable water management MCAST and the Water Services Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The new MoU will build upon three areas of ongoing and increasing collaboration between the two organisations, namely: Skilling, upskilling and re-skilling in water operations and technologies, the creation of an innovative water platform, and the advancement of water research.
Ongoing and regular collaboration with the WSC is driven by MCAST’s R&I Centre, supported by a number of MCAST Institutes – predominantly the IAS, IET, IICT and IBMC.
Just over 5 years ago, the first WSC-MCAST MoU was signed to announce and support the launching of MCAST’s new Water Research & Training Centre (WRTC). This WRTC has been successful in acquiring over Eur1m in EU funding towards a range of projects and initiatives, strongly supported in various ways by the WSC. It is now that the WSC is reaching new heights as a knowledge-driven organization, and is re-energizing its own Institute of Water Technology. Therefore, an updated MoU that strengthens and commits further collaboration with MCAST, is in order.
MCAST and the WSC have regularly collaborated in various skilling and training programmes in recent years, with programmes such as the upskilling of WSC technicians and higher programmes aimed for the public such as the MCAST MSc in Integrated Water Resource Management. Plans are in the pipeline to acquire EU funds for a new mode of water skilling, in collaboration with a range of European higher education institutions and water utilities, utilizing Extended Reality to allow learners to immerse themselves in water technologies in a virtual fashion.
Moreover, during the past 3 years MCAST and the WSC have joined forces in a first-of-the-kind Erasmus+ Platform of Vocational Excellence in Water (POVE) project that included 10 other European partners, and which established a common European platform for water education that addressed the various industry’s water skills gaps. Here, MCAST and WSC have embarked on an exercise to identify the local attitude, knowledge, skills and competences that are missing in current and future water professionals, thus ensuring an agile and competent future workforce. MCAST has developed an Online Platform which gave all 12 partners the opportunity to create water related courses, whilst the WSC were vital in providing technical knowledge within the local courses. Plans are now underway to extend this POVE project in a forthcoming EU-wide programme relaunch.
Importantly, whilst various research collaborations take place regularly between the WSC and MCAST, the research into Apparent Water Losses is in the forefront and has been ongoing since the inception of MCAST’s WRTC. The main focus of this research is in water meter under-registration and degeneration, a topic that is of high interest to all water utilities around the world. The synergies here are of great potential; MCAST hosts one of the most accurate water meter test facilities to be found, whist the WSC is an expert in smart metering and in water loss control. Yearly research collaboration efforts have resulted in vital knowledge acquisition on water meter performance and replacement strategies, and in a number of dissertations and peer reviewed publications. Plans are at hand to extend this vital research even further.