A £40 million innovation competition has launched to spark ambitious innovation and new ways of working in the water sector.
The Water Breakthrough Challenge hopes to equip the water sector to address the challenges facing the sector, driving far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for customers, society and the environment throughout England and Wales. It also encourages collaborative entries for other sectors and worldwide partners, and aims to fund initiatives which water companies would otherwise have been unable to invest in or explore.
Entries should demonstrate how solutions can help the water sector deliver for customers, society and the environment, for example by achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing the impact of extreme weather.
The winners of Ofwat’s first innovation competition, the £2 million Innovation Water Challenge, were revealed last month, and include green initiatives such as planting and restoring seagrass meadows, a scheme which will turn ammonia in wastewater into green hydrogen gas, and software which can monitor the degradation of wildlife habitats.
John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat, said: “Our innovation competitions are now in full swing and we are beginning to see a wave of innovation across the sector. Within the Breakthrough Challenge we are looking forward to seeing continued collaboration outside of the sector from a wide range of industries, and even more cutting-edge projects that tackle the greatest challenges facing our sector, and society as a whole.”
The Water Breakthrough Challenge is funded through Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund, as part of the regulator’s goal to drive innovation and collaboration in the water sector, supporting it to meet 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.
Arlene Goode, an associate from Arup, added: “This is a great opportunity for water companies and project partners. We’re excited to see the transformative projects which can move the water sector towards meeting its long-term ambitions.”
Entries must be submitted by water companies in England and Wales, but they can enter in partnership with organisations outside the water sector – including in the construction sector.
To find out more and apply, visit waterinnovation.challenges.org/breakthrough/.
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