Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT September 2016

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 13 of 47

14 | SEPTEMBER 2016 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk Industry leader Jon Rathjen, Water Industry Team Leader, Scottish Government "We are supporting our water industry here in Scotland, nurturing it, and driving value out of it like never before." A s a relatively small nation of 5.5 million people, there are few arenas in which can Scotland can genuinely lay claim to be leading the world. But the management of water might well be one of them. At any rate, that's the stated aim of the Scottish Government's 'Hydro Nation' strategy, which has been in place since 2013. Since the Water Resources Scotland Act of that year, Scottish Government ministers have had a duty under legislation to develop the value of the country's water resources, and an aspiration not only to further grow Scotland's water sector expertise but to raise its profile and reputation on the world stage. So, three years later, how is it getting on? WWT spoke to Jon Rathjen, Water Industry Team Leader in the Scottish Government, to find out. One sign of progress has been the fortunes of Scottish Water International, a commercial arm of the publicly-owned utility offering international consultancy. Founded in 2013, the company turned over £2M last year and has won high profile contracts in Australia, Canada, Qatar, Ireland and Poland. Rathjen believes that the key to its early success has been the story of Scottish Water's transformation over the last decade. "Scottish Water International is a young firm, but it's grown successfully and is profitable," says Rathjen. "It acts as a flag carrier for Scotland, going out and highlighting our expertise, but it also brings our skills and governance to other jurisdictions, and we are looking to grow that business steadily and carefully. What you are really selling through SWI is the performance transformation of a publicly owned utility, from a relatively high cost base and low performing utility 10-12 years ago, to one of the best and most high performing utilities in the UK today. It's that transformation journey that people want to buy." WWT catches up with Rathjen as he returned from a successful trade mission to Singapore, where Scotland's water expertise was once again in the shop window. Interestingly, Singapore, with its national water agency PUB Commercial, presents some parallels with Scotland as it is one of the foremost examples of a country leveraging its water management abilities internationally. And while the two countries are very different geographically and culturally, they are almost identical in population terms. The Asian city-state demonstrates that a crucial element of becoming a global water leader is innovation, and how the development of new ideas and new technology is fostered. So it's appropriate that one of the main achievements of the Scottish Hydro Nation programme so far, according to Rathjen, has been the establishment of the Hydro Nation Innovation Service, a bespoke service for the water industry which provides advice, introductions and support to innovators wanting to bring innovative new products and services to market. This service was supported by the opening in November last year of two full- scale testing facilities at operational Scottish Interview by James Brockett

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