UKWIR was set up by the UK water industry in 1993 to provide a framework for the procurement of a common research programme for UK water operators on 'one voice' issues. UKWIR's members comprise 21 water and sewerage undertakers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Over the last 20 years, UKWIR subscribers have contributed some £50m with a further £30m of research coming from UKWIR collaborators, resulting in over 750 reports delivered to members.
Work is often carried out in collaboration with government departments and regulators including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Drinking Water Inspectorate and the Environment Agency. Some work is also done in collaboration with research organisations internationally.
The majority of work is put out to open tender to a wide range of companies, academic institutions and other organisations in the UK and overseas. Project management is undertaken by both the water industry's R&D departments and by individuals employed by UKWIR.
The research programme is currently divided into the following topic areas: climate change; customers; drinking water quality & health; environmental quality; programme management; regulation; sewerage; sludge & waste management; toxicology; wastewater treatment; water mains & services & leakage and water resources.
A quarterly newsletter, UKWIR News is circulated widely.