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£40m competition aims to encourage innovation for water and wastewater services

The Water Breakthrough Challenge is calling on innovators in the cities and transport sector to join forces with the water sector and together create solutions to deliver wide-scale change.

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Challenge aims to tackle the biggest challenges facing water and wastewater services
Challenge aims to tackle the biggest challenges facing water and wastewater services

A new £40m collaborative competition to encourage innovation for water and wastewater services is calling on problem-solvers in the cities and transport sector to help drive transformational change in the water sector.

 

The Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to encourage collaborative innovative initiatives that help tackle the biggest challenges facing the water and wastewater services, such as achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing leakage, as well as taking opportunities to use open data and deliver value to society.

 

Collaborative water sector

 

The challenge is funded through Ofwat’s £200m Innovation Fund, as part of the English and Welsh regulator’s goal to create an innovative and collaborative water sector that meets the needs of customers, society and the environment in the years to come. It is being delivered by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges, supported by Arup.

 

“Climate change, extreme weather and ageing infrastructure are among the major challenges facing the water sector. Rising to these challenges demands that the sector goes beyond its business as usual, by seeking out, testing and scaling up new solutions, new ways of working and novel partnerships,” Chris Gorst, director of challenges at Nesta Challenges.

 

“With this challenge we hope to pump-prime this process and to uncover and support truly breakthrough innovations that will deliver tangible benefits to water customers, wider society and the environment.”

 

Entries must be submitted by water companies in England and Wales, but they can enter in partnership with organisations within and outside the water sector. This could include universities and institutes, retailers, start-ups, or small businesses in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, health, or financial services.

“With this challenge we hope to pump-prime this process and to uncover and support truly breakthrough innovations that will deliver tangible benefits to water customers, wider society and the environment”

“This competition follows on from the successful Innovation in Water Challenge that we ran earlier this year, when we received dozens of brilliant entries,” added John Russell, senior director at Ofwat.

 

“We now want to build on this momentum by encouraging and developing new partnerships and even bigger innovative projects that could make a real and lasting difference to the environment, society and people’s lives – now and well into the future.”

 

Entries open on 6 May 2021 with successful entries from water companies and partners receiving between £1m and £10m to support their initiatives.

 

To find out more in advance of the entry window opening, visit waterinnovation.challenges.org/breakthrough/

 

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