Innovative Solutions Sought for £450,000 Water Treatment Challenge

15 March 2018
Scottish Water is looking to the country’s most innovative minds to come up with new ways of treating water at point-of-use.  

Up to five successful applicants could win a share of £450,000 to produce a feasibility study of their proposal, which must focus on treating water containing a high level of organic material.  

The aim of the challenge, which is one of the initial Scotland Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund challenges, is to find new ways of treating water and providing safe drinking water to rural households in a cost effective way at the point of use.  

Scotland has more than 10,000 water supplies that serve only one household, while another 20,000 supplies serve a population of fewer than 50 people. Most of these supplies are served by surface waters high in organic matter which currently proves challenging for existing technologies to treat reliably.   

Allan Mason, Senior Project Manager and Sustainable Communities Programme Lead at Scottish Water, said:   “Recent trials of commercially available systems have shown they require heavy maintenance and can suffer from poor reliability when treating surface water high in organic loading or sources that suffer from a large degree of quality variability. Reliability is key and systems must provide water to drinking standard 100% of the time. 

“Our aim is to create a water and wastewater service that is truly affordable, resilient and sustainable to even the most remote of our communities - the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund is a fantastic opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs to help us to achieve that and create new ways of treating water in a ‘decentralised’ way.”  

He added: “There are a number of market ready technologies and more conceptual technologies that have the potential to unlock this opportunity. 

“What's missing is the R&D around them to draw out synergies between technologies and processes and we are encouraging any applications regardless of Research & Development stage."  

George Ponton, Head of Research and Innovation at Scottish Water, said:  “As we mature our approach to innovation, it is important to recognise that we don’t always have all of the answers to solve our problems. 

“We recognise the value of collaborating to innovate effectively and have done this successfully with suppliers and academia.  

“Open innovation is an excellent way of extending the challenge to others outside of our existing network to share our challenges and bring new thinking to try and solve them.”   

Jim Watson, Director of Innovation and Enterprise Services at Scottish Enterprise, said: “It’s fantastic to see Scottish Water embracing open innovation to enhance its existing innovation activities.  

“Increasing business innovation is critical to maintaining Scotland’s global competitiveness. 

“Helping smaller businesses collaborate with larger organisations, like Scottish Water, is what the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund is all about and I’d encourage any Scottish business to look at this opportunity and assess if they can respond with a solution.” 

Applicants must register by April 18 and submit their solution by April 25.  

Find out more and apply or contact Scottish Water with any questions at