22nd April 2016

Fix Our Water: Winning the Water Challenge


Well done to all the finalists who took part in the Water Challenge Geovation Camp held at Ordnance Survey over the weekend 4-6 March. The finalists had been selected as the best ideas entered to our Geovation Challenge to tackle problems associated with improving water use in Britain sustainably.

Morag Embleton is a winner of the Water Challenge and one of the Founder’s of the Fix Our Water team. She loves good design, maps and wildlife. 

Her Story 

I found the Geovation Water Challenge from a link on Twitter.  The more I read about the problems that had been identified by the water industry experts, the more I realised I knew exactly what the solution to so many of them could be. Indeed, why hadn’t it been done before?

Poor bathing water quality at our beaches, plastic in rivers and seas, identifying blocked sewers, burst mains water pipes, and a whole host of other water related problems, could they all be solved more quickly by crowdsourcing the information using one app?

My idea made it through, along with nine others, to the Water Challenge final in Southampton. Here we were supplied with an amazing team of experts from the Hub, London College of Communication and Nonon as well as access to the industry expert challenge sponsors who helped us refine our ideas and present them effectively. It was a whirlwind weekend that culminated in a terrifying 5-minute presentation that fellow finalists described as a cross between Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice.

We had a wonderful team of complete strangers openly helping us throughout that weekend. It was amazing. In particular, I will be forever grateful to Sean and David from No Non for their guidance on how to clarify ideas down to five or so simple slides and how to ease those pre-presentation nerves.

Now, one week on from our first visit to the Geovation Hub in London, along with the other two winning teams, the Fix Our Water Team is working with the Geovation Business and Programming Support teams to make the app and website a reality.

Three months seems a very short time to get a prototype up and running. To be honest I am a little apprehensive about it. Feeling the pressure, a bit. The problems facing our water are too important to ignore. If our Fix Our Water app and website can help let organisations know where the problems are more quickly that can only be a good thing for our environment. I have put my heart into creating our Fix Our Water app and it seems even with all the Geovation Hub’s help I’ll be putting all of my spare time into it too!

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride so far and I’m sure there will be a few more ups and downs, twists and turns before this process is complete. I am also sure that the Geovation team and the water challenge sponsors will be with us every step of the way to help create something brilliant. It’s an amazing opportunity.

Having said all of that, I still can’t quite believe that this product doesn’t already exist. Let’s hope that when it goes live it makes a really positive impact on our environment! The words that keep coming to my mind, as I steady myself to continue this journey, are “If not me, who? If not now, when?”. Wish us luck.

Watch out for more blog posts from our Geovation Water Challenge winners in the future. Don’t miss out! See the reactions from all three Challenge winners on YouTube.