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NI Water a partner in Anglian Water’s £3.5 million award for cutting-edge water sector innovation

07 October 2021 17:04

NI Water is one of the partners involved in Anglian Water’s award of £3.5 million for cutting edge water sector innovation.  The Water Breakthrough Challenge tackles the biggest challenges facing water and wastewater services, including net zero, reducing leakage, protecting natural ecosystems, and using open data to deliver value to customers, society, and the environment.


Damien O’Mullan, Head of Energy, NI Water, commented: “NI Water was delighted to be invited to partner with Anglian Water on their winning submission to drive forward carbon reduction within the water industry. 


“Climate change does not respect national or institutional boundaries, therefore, neither should the response.  The partnership is an excellent example of industry coming together to innovate and collaborate to address the challenge of climate change together.”


Entries to the Water Breakthrough Challenge were encouraged from water companies in England and Wales in partnerships with organisations in and outside the water sector, including universities and institutes, retailers, start-ups, or small businesses in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, health, or financial services.

Adam Brookes, Manager of Innovation Discovery, Anglian Water, said: Funding for this project will greatly support the delivery of our own net zero routemap and the water sector's drive to Net Zero by 2030, filling a significant missing piece in the challenge. By collaborating with academia, businesses and other water companies, our project creates an elegant solution to eliminate part of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment and position the sector within the developing hydrogen landscape, in line with the newly launched UK Government Hydrogen strategy.”


John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat said: “From Airbus and Microsoft to the Zoological Society of London and the River Trust, the Water Breakthrough Challenge has led to the formation of exciting partnerships with water companies to improve services for customers and improve the environmental footprint of the sector. Each of the winners contribute to the resilience, sustainability and effectiveness of the water sector in the years to come for the benefit of customers across the country. Thank you to the independent judging panel for its challenge and insight in recommending these impressive winners.” 

Holly Jamieson, New Frontiers Director, Nesta Challenges said: “The cross-sectoral collaborations established by water companies, academia, engineering and technology sectors in response to the Water Breakthrough Challenge are hugely impressive. From turning sewage into a valuable natural resource to the smart use of open data to reduce negative environmental impacts and reduce costs for water customers, today’s funding is an exciting step for the water industry in the UK. I congratulate all of the winners and look forward to seeing them deliver their projects in the months and years to come.”

The Water Breakthrough Challenge contributes to economic water regulator Ofwat’s goal of creating an innovative and collaborative water sector that can meet the needs of customers, society, and the environment into the future. The Challenge funds initiatives that water companies would otherwise be unable to invest in or explore. 

A second Water Breakthrough Challenge will open for entries on 11 October 2021 to provide funding for further innovative water sector initiatives.  Up to £35 million will be available to be shared between entries that deliver benefits for water customers, society and the environment.

Arlene Good, Innovation and Infrastructure Adviser, Arup said: “The winning entries represent an exciting spectrum of innovative initiatives and we look forward to seeing the outcomes and benefits of those initiatives come to fruition. A further £35 million will be available for the next wave of innovative water sector initiatives through the second Breakthrough Water Challenge, opening on 11 October. We’re looking forward to seeing how the water sector continues to step up to the challenge, with more partnerships established to deliver breakthrough solutions that benefit both consumers and the environment.”

New innovation challenges will be announced through to 2025, however Ofwat’s goal is that the Innovation Fund’s impact will be felt well beyond this. To find out more about the winners, and find out how to enter the second Water Breakthrough Challenge from Ofwat, Nesta Challenges and Arup, visit: waterinnovation.challenges.org

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

For all media enquiries contact:

Press.office@niwater.com

About NI Water

NI Water is leading the way with ground breaking carbon reduction projects, implementing a strategy designed to help not just NI Water, but Northern Ireland as a whole transition to a low carbon economy.  For a full overview of NI Water’s plans to help address the Climate Emergency, please visit www.niwater.com/climatechange

About Ofwat’s Innovation Fund

Ofwat has established a £200 million Innovation Fund to grow the water sector’s capacity to innovate, enabling it to better meet the evolving needs of customers, society and the environment.

The Water Breakthrough Challenge is run by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges in partnership with Arup and is the second in a series of competitions funded through the Fund following the Innovation in Water Challenge earlier this year.

Entries were encouraged from water companies in England and Wales, alongside partnerships with organisations within and outside the water sector, including universities and institutes, retailers, start-ups, or small businesses in sectors such as energy, manufacturing, health, or financial services.

https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/about-us/our-duties/. To contact Ofwat’s press office, please call 07458 126271 

Ofwat Water Breakthrough Challenge Judges

  • Anusha Shah, Director Resilient Cities, Arcadis , BEng, CEng, FICE (Chair)
  • Paul Connell, Founder, Open Data Institute Leeds
  • Prof Tony Conway, Visiting Professor, Sheffield University and prior Executive Director, United Utilities
  • Sharon Darcy, Director, Sustainability First
  • Paul O'Callaghan, Founder & CEO, BlueTech Research & Brave Blue World
  • Niki Roach, President, The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management , Director and Co-Founder of AxiaOrigin, FCIWEM, CEnv
  • Frank Rogalla, Director of Innovation and Technology, Aqualia (Spain)
  • Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Executive Director, International Water Association

About the Second Water Breakthrough Challenge

A second Water Breakthrough Challenge will open for entries on 11 October 2021 to provide funding for further innovative water sector initiatives.  Up to £35 million will be available to be shared between entries that deliver benefits for water customers, society and the environment

Water companies in England and Wales, as well as partnerships with organisations in the water sector supply chain and beyond, are encouraged to apply. A total of £5 million is available through the ‘Catalyst Stream’ for entries that bid for between £100,000 and £1 million. A total of £30 million is available through the ‘Transform Stream’ for entries that bid between £1 million and £10 million. 

About Nesta and Nesta Challenges

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills, and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We've spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we've applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts.

Within Nesta, Nesta Challenges exists to design and run challenge prizes that help solve pressing problems that lack solutions. We shine a spotlight where it matters and incentivise people to solve these issues. We are independent supporters of change to help communities thrive and inspire the best placed, most diverse groups of people around the world to act.

We support the boldest and bravest ideas to become real and seed long term change to advance society and build a better future for everyone. We are part of the innovation foundation, Nesta. We are challengers. We are innovators. We are game changers.

About Arup

https://www.arup.com /

Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment. Together we help our clients solve their most complex challenges – turning exciting ideas into tangible reality as we strive to find a better way and shape a better world. With a community of over 1700 water professionals, Arup is leading global thinking across key areas like innovation, resilience, net zero carbon and sustainable water management.


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