Good at finding leaks? British NRW challenge to award £1.25 million

The British government has earmarked £1.25m (US$1.8m) towards to help developing nations reduce levels of non-revenue water...

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2016 02 Asia Leaks

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2016 02 Asia Leaks

The British government has earmarked £1.25m (US$1.8m) towards to help developing nations reduce levels of non-revenue water (NRW).

Called Dreampipe, the multi-year innovation prize launched today aims to stem the amount of water lost in developing countries through leakage, meter inaccuracies and unauthorised use.

The initiative is hoped to spur improved ways of mobilising funding to reduce the vast amounts of 'non-revenue water' (NRW) – the difference between water entering the system and water billed to customers – in developing countries.

The total purse for prize winners is £1.25m ($1.8m) to be distributed in several tranches over two stages (up to five in stage I and three in stage II) over the next 22 months.

The competition will appeal to financial specialists and water utility experts – most likely working together. It is expected that successful solutions will mobilise multiple times the prize purse in funding.

The prize is part of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) “Ideas to Impact” innovation inducement programme, which aims to resolve challenges in water and sanitation, climate change and energy access.

Dreampipe is managed by a consortium led by the British-based consultancy IMC Worldwide with the launch supported by the International Water Association (IWA).

Halving NRW losses in developing countries could generate $2.9bn in cash annually and service an additional 90mn people, without using new water resources.

Entries will be judged by a panel of experts seeking improved financing solutions that can be standardised, replicated and scaled up to serve the needs of many water utility companies.

Tom Williams, programmes director at the International Water Association (IWA), said: “Financing for water infrastructure investment in developing economies has been hard to mobilise owing to lack of borrower creditworthiness and high risk. This prize should help incentivise and drive improvements and move utilities towards more efficient service delivery.”

Chris Shugart, prize manager of Dreampipe, said: “What has lagged behind are widely applicable solutions for financing related investments. The resources of international financial institutions are limited. This prize will stimulate thinking on how to increase the provision of needed financing. In principle, these deals will be financeable: by cutting costs and raising revenue, well-planned investments to reduce NRW can pay for themselves over seven to 10 years.”

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