Ofwat has launched the second round of its innovation funding to find ideas and projects that will bring wide-scale change to the water sector for its customers and the environment.

This round of the competition will be divided into two streams. Approximately £5 million will be available for the Catalyst Stream that will run to 8 December for bids that are seeking £100,000 to £1 million.

The Transform Stream invites bids up to 16 November for projects up to £10 million from a total pot of approximately £34 million.

The competition was introduced as part of PR19 to encourage collaboration to solve the challenges the sector jointly faces.

Winners of first round of the competition were announced last month including £21 million for projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore water environments.

For the Catalyst Stream, entries should reach the prototyping and testing stage with real users, while the Transformation Stream should see projects delivering tangible benefits for customers, the environment and wider society.

John Russell, senior director at Ofwat, said: “Our goal is to create a more open, collaborative, progressive and outward-facing sector – supporting water companies to tap into new opportunities to learn from other industries and transform practices to make a lasting difference to the environment, society and people’s lives. The innovation we’ve seen in the two previous competitions have exceeded our expectations in their ambition and imagination and we’re excited to see what entrants come up with in this round.”

The competition is managed and run by Nesta Challenges, Arup and Isle Utilities. Holly Jamieson, new frontiers director at Nesta, added: “The water sector, like many others, continues to confront the challenge of climate change, while at the same time needing to support customers and deal with an ageing infrastructure. By collaborating with others in the sector, as well as other industries, we can ensure the water sector is well armed with breakthrough solutions to help them overcome these pressing challenges and benefit water customers, wider society and the environment – long into the future.”

Entries to both streams should align with Ofwat’s innovation themes of responding and adapting to climate change; improving the natural water environment; boosting long term resilience of the sector and its assets; delivering wider public value; and using open data to benefit customers, especially vulnerable customer groups.

The fund is expected to run each year throughout AMP7 to 2025, with a total of £200 million allocated as part of PR19 to fund the projects.

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