Dragan Savic

CEO of KWR Water Research Institute

What would ‘going Dutch’ mean for the UK water industry?




3 Sept 2019


The UK and the Netherlands (NL) are two European countries with extensive water and wastewater assets and utilities that overall provide high-level service to customers. However, the two utility models differ in many aspects including ownership, i.e., public (NL) or private (UK), the way the sector is organised, i.e., water and sewer services combined (UK) or separate (NL), or whether chlorine is used for disinfection in the distribution system (UK) or not (NL), to name but a few. This talk will compare and contrast the two models, including the provision of research and innovation services and whether all those differences have resulted in notable performance differentiation between the two water sectors.

Professor Dragan Savic FREng is the CEO of KWR Water Research Institute, the Dutch drinking water companies’ collective research organisation. He obtained his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba, Canada, in 1990, and then held a number of academic, consultancy and project management positions in Canada and his native Serbia, before relocating to the United Kingdom, where he co-founded the University of Exeter Centre for Water Systems in 1998. The Centre is now recognised as a leading international research group for excellence in water and environmental science research. For over 20 years he co-led the Centre, which now has a staff of more than 80 and funding at any time exceeding 5 million pounds sterling (6 million euros). In 2001 he became the UK’s first Professor of Hydroinformatics, holding this post until 2018 at the University of Exeter, where he was also the head of the Engineering faculty between 2010 and 2014. In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), the highest honour for a UK engineer. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (UK), and a Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA). He is currently Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bari (Italy), Belgrade (Serbia), IHE Delft (the Netherlands) and the Harbin Institute of Technology (China). His research interests cover the interdisciplinary field of Hydroinformatics, which transcends traditional boundaries of water/environmental science and engineering, informatics/computer science (including Artificial Intelligence, data mining and optimisation techniques) and environmental engineering. The applications of his research are generally in the environmental engineering areas, including water resources management (both quality and quantity), flood management, water and wastewater systems, and environmental protection and management.