Yorkshire Water awarded £200k to develop new pipe lining solution

A group of Yorkshire Water innovation colleagues talking about a new pipe lining solution
Energy and environment Innovation Network and infrastructure



  • Solution hopes to improve life span of water pipes by up to 100 years  
  • £193,000 funding for ‘Designer Liner’ development  
  • Yorkshire Water leading seven water companies in innovative trial funded by Ofwat  


On World Water Day, Yorkshire Water and partners have been awarded £193,000 by Ofwat to develop a cost effective and environmentally friendly pipe lining solution, in a project called ‘Designer Liner’.  

Pipe lining is 50% cheaper than the more traditional method of digging up and replacing old pipes. It also generates less carbon and reduces disruption for customers because there’s less need to dig up the road.

Yorkshire Water has identified a gap in the current market for a lining solution that is fit for a 21st century water network. Water companies, led by Yorkshire Water, will collaborate to develop lining to help pipes last longer and that complements other technologies, like smart networks and devices. If successful, the lining will also make bursts less likely, road works less frequent and allow water companies to understand their networks more than ever.  

Chris Offer, director of strategy and regulation at Yorkshire Water, said: “Pipe lining is a fantastic alternative to digging and replacing pipes: it’s cheaper, less disruptive and offers large carbon savings. However, we need new lining solutions that have both an enhanced lifespan and deliver performance that meets the demands of a 21st century water network. This ambitious project offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with others to define what we need from a new lining solution, and ultimately deliver this to market.” 

Designer Liner is one of 13 projects awarded a total of £5.2m of funding by Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge using new technology and cross-sector collaborations to improve water quality, reduce pollution and enhance services for consumers. 

Between now and the summer, the Water Breakthrough Challenge will award up to £39m to projects across England and Wales. The Water Breakthrough Challenge is part of a series of competitions from Ofwat, and run by Nesta Challenges with Arup and Isle Utilities, designed to drive innovation and collaboration in the sector to benefit individuals, society and the environment. The winners of £34m of funding will be announced later in the Spring. 

Harry Armstrong, director, Ofwat said: “It is great to see the water sector deliver more exciting and impactful projects through this round of Ofwat’s Water Breakthrough Challenge. The winners all have huge potential to benefit people, society and the natural environment. I’m excited to see these projects become reality and start to make a real difference in the way we do things.”  

The next competition will launch in Autumn 2022. Entries are encouraged from water companies in England and Wales, alongside partnerships with universities and institutes, retailers, start-ups, technology companies, charities, and small businesses. Previous winners have included collaborations between water companies and the likes of the Zoological Society of London, Microsoft, National Energy Action, and the Rivers Trust.