Going bigger, better and faster on water innovation


Innov Fund cons general1

Climate change and population growth are serious threats to our future water security and safe disposal of wastewater. At the same time, public expectations of the water sector are rising.

At Ofwat, we are using the full range of our powers and working in partnership with environmental and other regulators and customer bodies to transform the way the sector works and its performance for customers and the environment.

Back in 2020, we established the Ofwat Innovation Fund to ensure the sector can better meet the needs of, and create long-term value for, customers, society and the environment through innovation. The fund has already made progress in accelerating innovations, creating an innovative culture and growing the water sector’s ability to innovate.

And we need to continue that progress: by going bigger, better and faster on innovation.

After seeking feedback from innovators, water companies and others from within and outside the water sector, we’re now consulting on changes to make our Innovation Fund achieve an even greater impact in 2025-30, including doubling its size to £400 million – to develop the bold, transformational innovations that the sector needs.

Our exciting plans include:

  • working with other sectors to support cross-sector projects to tackle common problems, including the European Space Agency’s ‘Space for Infrastructure’ call seeking to use space technologies to improve life on Earth;
  • introducing new collaborative challenges to support all water companies to work together on strategically important areas;
  • improving knowledge sharing and exploring ways to implement successful innovations;
  • increasing the number of transformational innovations by increasing the funding available for our main Water Breakthrough Challenge innovation competition; and
  • supporting the greater flow of innovations from outside the water sector by increasing the size and frequency of our Water Discovery Challenge innovation competition.

We can and we will drive transformative change in the water sector, so it delivers better outcomes for customers and the environment now and in the future.

We’d welcome your views to what we’re proposing by 30 April 2024. Whether you’re a chemical engineer or layperson with a great idea – it’d be great to hear.

You can read more about our current innovation fund and explore our previous winners at: waterinnovation.challenges.org