Water Discover Challenge competition

Call for entries to Ofwat's Water Discovery Challenge competition

Promotion: water regulatory body Ofwat has launched an international competition inviting creatives to submit proposals that intend to revolutionise current water and wastewater systems in England and Wales.

The Water Services Regulation Authority – commonly known as Ofwat – has launched the Water Discovery Challenge, a competition seeking solutions to common challenges within the water industry, from climate change and pollution prevention to increasing demand.

"The Water Discovery Challenge aims to accelerate the discovery, development and adoption of promising innovations by the water sector," Ofwat said. "Design and urban planning teams could help revolutionise the future of the water sector through sharing ideas based on cross-sector insights."

While the competition is open to all, Ofwat is especially keen to see those working in related fields such as urban and city planning, transport, energy, construction, agriculture and digital apply.

Participants are tasked with submitting a proposal that addresses a significant need or gap within the water sector as well as highlighting what impact it could have.

A water bridge connecting buildings
Previous winners of the Ofwat Innovation Fund include water-smart urban design projects. Credit: Eddington Sustainability Development

Entries to the Water Discovery Challenge should be able to showcase how their innovation will benefit customers, society and the environment in England and Wales, however, innovators can enter from anywhere in the world.

Prizes will be awarded to those submissions that provide a new alternative to current solutions in the water sector and those ideas that could be feasible in the real world.

Up to 10 winning entrants will be awarded £450,000 to turn their ideas into pilots while a further 20 teams will be awarded up to £50,000 to develop their ideas and benefit from mentoring from water companies.

Those who wish to take part must submit their entry online via the competition website by 5 April 2023.

People walking through a narrow street
Proposals should address a significant need within the water sector

The Water Discovery Challenge competition, which is delivered in partnership with Challenge Works, Arup and Isle Utilities, is part of Ofwat's Innovation Fund.

The fund was originally set up to help the water sector better meet the evolving needs of customers, society and the environment and tackle water-related issues that range from preventing pollution to boosting flood and drought resilience.

A potential water challenge solution
Winning entrants will be awarded up to £450,000 to develop their ideas

"Our £200 million Innovation Fund has already supported projects that detect and fix leaks, capture carbon emissions from water processing plants to convert them into fuel, and remove fertilisers from waterways to be re-used in our food system," said Ofwat senior director John Russell.

"Now, we're broadening the opportunity to innovators in any industry that can make a difference to improving the water system for all of us," Russell added.

Although the successful innovations should be applicable for use in England and Wales, Ofwat envisions that in the future, the idea could go on to be used in other countries too.

To submit an entry, or to find out more about the competition, visit the Water Discovery Challenge's website.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Ofwat Innovation Fund as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.

More images and plans

The Water Discovery Challenge
The Water Discovery Challenge