22nd January 2016

Exploring two of the challenge themes


In the Geovation Water Challenge, we have focussed on sustainable water management in Britain under 5 key themes: too little water; too much water; poor water quality; ageing water infrastructure, and; water use behaviour.

We created a persona for each of the themes to help you to identify with the problems and today we turn our attention to the problems of ageing infrastructure and water use behaviour.

Ageing Infrastructure

2mm of rainfall in parts of London can cause sewer overflow because of ageing infrastructure

(Thames Water 2012).

A lot of critical water distribution and sewer infrastructure is buried below ground and its ageing. Our UK sewer systems total 624,000 kilometres in length. They leak, block and collapse sporadically, causing flooding and pollution incidents. Ground water also gets in which can overwhelm pumping stations and treatment plants. Infrastructure is difficult to manage; it’s below ground and isn’t monitored at every inch as this would be costly. This means we can’t predict exactly where and when problems will arise.

Find out more about Ageing Infrastructure by checking out the Persona

Water Use behaviour

Sewer blockages cost utilities over £15 million and over 3,000 homes are flooded each year

(Water UK 2015).

Drains get blocked with all sorts of household items that go down the toilet and with fats, oil and grease down the sink; this causes around 80% of sewer blockages. These blockages cause sewer flooding and pollution which is expensive to resolve. The total length of sewers can be hundreds of thousands of kilometers, making it difficult to predict where and when blockages will occur and quickly find and identify them. Water is a limited resource but people are often unware of the wider water management process and how much water, they themselves use, or the effort involved in providing clean water.  Chemical pollution, for example, from human pharmaceuticals, commonly enters sewers and waste water, requiring greater treatment.

Read more about Water Use Behaviour in the Persona

So got some ideas to tackle aging infrastructure or behavioural use of water? Then, enter your ideas on the Geovation Challenge online but be quick, the challenge closes 12 noon on Wednesday 27 January 2016.

Find out more about what we are looking for and the other problem themes and get detailed information on the problems we identified in the Problem Deep Dive here

After the closing date, ideas that are identified for their potential impact will be invited to a Geovation Weekend Camp from 4-6 March 2016 at Ordnance Survey, Southampton, where you will be asked to work on transforming your idea into a prototype venture. You will also identify how to overcome problems in implementing your idea and learn to pitch your idea ‘pecha kucha’ style to the independent judging panel.  See the timetable. Those selected to be invited into a 12 month funded Geovation Programme will be announced at the end of this camp.

We are delighted to be collaborating with Environment Agency, DEFRA (whose release of thousands of open data sets coincides with the Geovation Challenge), Southern Water, and United Utilities on this Geovation Challenge.

Our challenges are open to UK-based organisations and/or UK residents aged 18 or over and we encourage entrepreneurs, developers, geographers, community groups, and innovators to enter