Water treatment Digital Solutions Europe

VIDEO: Overcoming water’s greatest challenge – the “silver tsunami”

Friday, 14 January 2022

An ageing, soon to be retiring workforce could be one of the water sector’s greatest challenges. Aquatech Online catches up with a variety of industry thought leaders to find out more.

A tidal wave challenge

Climate change. Leakage. Lack of funding. Forever chemicals. Microplastics.

These “mega-challenges” are often quoted as the biggest trials facing water utilities across the world, yet there is another urgent matter to contend with: an ageing, soon to be retiring workforce.

It is estimated that some water utilities are expected to lose up to 50 per cent of their operations staff in the coming 15 years.

“Referred to as the “silver tsunami”, referring to the tidal wave of imminent retirees due to hit workforces.”

Known as the “silver tsunami”, referring to the tidal wave of imminent retirees due to hit workforces, this challenge is accelerated when coupled with another major problem: recruiting new, young professionals to the sector.

In the UK alone its estimated that the water industry is struggling to fill over 35 per cent of its skilled roles, compared to a national average of 23 per cent.

As part of a new series of mini documentaries set to feature exclusively on its news channel, Aquatech Online investigated this issue further by interviewing a healthy mixture of thought leaders, including:

  • Mar Batista Segui, head of programmes, British Water
  • Professor Cees Buisman, executive board, Wetsus
  • Ioana Dobrescu, managing director, Water Footprint Implementation
  • Mtembu Odwa Ntsika, water & climate professional, National Department of Water and Sanitation, South Africa.

The full video can be seen below:

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