OFWAT Innovation Fund

2021 saw the launch of the Innovation Fund

There are five key themes:

  1. Responding and adapting to climate change, including how to meet the sector’s ambition of net-zero emissions.
  2. Restoring and improving the ecological status of our water environments, protecting current and future customers from the impacts of extreme weather and pollution.
  3. Understanding long-term operational resilience and infrastructure risks to customers and the environment, finding solutions to mitigate these in sustainable and efficient ways.
  4. Testing new ways of conducting core activities to deliver wider public value.
  5. Exploring the opportunities associated with open data, stimulating innovation and collaboration, for example, encouraging new business models and service offerings that benefit customers, including those in vulnerable circumstances

Further information can be found at: OFWAT Water Innovation Competitions

For Innovation to be successful the following key enablers have been identified:

  • Collaboration: Building and strengthening collaboration and partnerships across companies, the supply chain and beyond.
  • Openness: To sharing data, insights and ideas within the water sector and with other sectors.
  • Adaptability: Flexibility and openness to exploring new ways of working.
  • Innovation Risk Management: including through greater use of experimentation.
  • Scalability and Deployability: Improving the ease of scaling proven innovations within the sector.
  • Long-term View: Taking both a longer-term and broader perspective on value creation.

Water Companies take the lead partner role in the Catalyst and Breakthrough Challenges streams of the competition.


Water Company website links to innovation priorities:

Anglian Water Dŵr Cymru Hafren Dyfrdwy
Northumbrian Water (including Essex and Suffolk Water) Severn Trent Water South West Water (including Bournemouth Water)
Southern Water Thames Water United Utilities
Wessex Water Yorkshire Water Affinity Water
Bristol Water Portsmouth Water South East Water
South Staffs Water (including Cambridge Water) SES Water Albion Eco
Albion Water County Water Icosa Water
Independent Water Networks Leep Water Networks Severn Trent Services
Veolia Water Projects

NB – Lead partners for the project bids under the IWC and the main competition must be one or more water company.