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30 September 21

Affinity Water wins share of £2.9 million for cutting-edge water sector innovation

  • ‘Water Neutrality at NAV sites’ has been named a winner in Ofwat’s £36 million Water Innovation Challenge
  • Benefits to customers will include better choice in water service provision, alignment with sustainability values and cheaper bills
  • Partners in the project include NAVs Albion Water Ltd and BUUK Infrastructure; technology partners H2OiQ Limited, Propelair, Hydraloop International, SDS Limited and Aquality Trading & Consulting Ltd; industry experts Skewb and customer advocacy experts Grapeviners.
  • 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.

30 September 2021 (London) – Affinity Water and its project partners have won £2.9 million in Ofwat’s first Water Breakthrough Challenge to deliver a sustainable, water-saving solution in response to new housing developments being built. The project will minimise water demand and offset water consumption with new technologies, to ensure the total water use in three communities remains the same as it was before the new homes were built.

Stuart Ledger, Interim CEO at Affinity Water said:

“We need water neutrality to be delivered in the UK. Sustainable growth is essential given the ongoing impact of climate change and our pledge to net zero operational emissions by 2030. Thanks to Ofwat’s Breakthrough Challenge, we will kick start the launch of water neutrality in the UK with the world’s first at scale project.

Our partnership of industry leading providers will install water reduction and recycling technologies and engage communities to ensure water savings, carbon reductions and support NAV partnerships.”

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.

John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat said:

“From Airbus and Google DeepMind to ZSL 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

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