Caroline Pilat, Arup

receiving her Award from Mark WIld, OBE FREng, the CEO of SGN, with Master Engineer Dr Dolores Byrne OBE [image courtesy of Mark Witter Photography].

Caroline Pilat is a water scientist working as a Consultant for Arup. Her interdisciplinary work on the water environment brings together technical expertise and community engagement to create bespoke solutions to flooding, drought, water pollution, or other water-related challenges that communities face across the UK, and internationally.

Caroline joined Arup in 2023 with an academic background in groundwater-based natural infrastructure (MESci, Cardiff) and in water science, policy, and management (MSc, Oxon). Her research on participatory governance of river basins has served as a foundation for co-design and community participation in innovative water management projects. Caroline presented the work of Arup’s team and partners on innovative co-designed sustainable drainage, which received accolades from the audience and the judging panel. Caroline is the winner of this year’s Water Engineering Award, awarded for the best presentation at the IWA UK Young Water Professionals’ 2023 Conference, judged by a panel including the CEO of the Institute of Water.

Caroline’s presentation on community-led futures through the co-design of sustainable drainage systems was titled “SuDS+, Community-Led Futures”. It demonstrated the power of working with and for a local community to create long-lasting and place-based solutions that bring numerous benefits and social values to users and stakeholders. Caroline delivered this talk to the diverse young water professional audience with confidence and passion. She explained the subject matter clearly and made each audience member feel that it was important and relatable. As the first presentation of the conference, she set a very high bar for others to follow. Her willingness to interact with the audience and share her knowledge widely was followed by stimulating conversations, which enabled conference attendees to form meaningful and lasting connections, both professionally and personally.

The Water Engineering award is made jointly with the International Water Association (IWA) for the best paper presentation at the annual IWA UK Young Water Professionals Conference.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers Charitable Trust (the Engineers Trust)  acknowledges excellence in engineering, supports engineering education and research, gives grants and assists in the relief of hardship and poverty.