Bring out your inner entrepreneur – solve real issues, fund life-changing work and learn new skills as a water innovator!

Water Innovators is your chance to compete with others around the world to solve a real problem in the developing world while developing your professional skills.

Learn more about the programme below.

"It’s an amazing feeling to know the hard work is really paying off and already being used to help those who need it most."

– Team Aspara – overall joint winners of Water Innovators 2016

Registration for 2017 has now closed, but if you'd like to find out about Water Innovators 2018, drop us an email at [email protected]

This exciting programme gives you and your colleagues the opportunity to help WaterAid reach more people with safe water and toilets while getting a unique learning experience.

We’ll provide you with four challenges based on real water, sanitation and hygiene-promotion problems faced by the WaterAid team in Nicaragua where 800,000 people don’t have access to clean, safe water, and two million live without access to a decent toilet.

All you need to do is put together a team of six to eight motivated people. Your team will choose between a water, sanitation, hygiene or legal finance challenge, and work on an innovative solution that could be put into practise in our work in Nicaragua.

What’s more, your team will get the chance to do some real good by organising your own creative fundraising projects to raise more than £5000 to support WaterAid projects. Following a Dragons’ Den style pitch you could win seed funding to help you on your way.

The overall winning team will get the chance to visit our country programme in Nicaragua (see the terms and conditions here). 

Everyone benefits

The fundraising contribution you make to WaterAid will bring about lasting change by bringing clean, safe water, toilets and hygiene to communities around the world.

At the same time you’ll learn new skills and leadership qualities to bring to your workplace. Of participants of Water Innovators 2016,

  • Almost 96% told us they developed skills that can be applied in the workplace. 
  • 92% would recommend Water Innovators to others. 
  • 92% achieved their personal learning objectives.

And that's not all. They also gained communication, influencing and team work skills (92%, 90% and 91% respectively) that would enhance their performance at work.

Learn more about the impact of our work >

Download the Water Innovators brochure to find out more >

This year’s solve challenges will focus on Nicaragua.

  • Water challenge: designing surface water intakes in unstable soils with solar pumping to remote villages 
  • Sanitation challenge: faecal sludge management business plan and service equipment design 
  • Hygiene challenge: Track, monitor and incentivise hygiene promoter visits through mobile applications. 
  • And new for 2017, legal finance challenge: legal finance and business structure for a hub for entrepreneurial initiatives for self-supply.

There’ll be more details about each to follow when your teams register but in the meantime, learn more about our work in Nicaragua.


Following a business pitch to secure seed-funding your team will be tasked to raise at least 5,000 (GBP/USD/AUD) for our work in Nicaragua.


Your team sets personal learning objectives, takes part in a pre- and post-programme survey and shares reflections as a team at the end of the process.

New for 2017: one lucky team from the global challenge will be crowned Global Overall Winners and visit Nicaragua in 2018. For full details see the practical information tab.

Watch teams from Anglian Water take on the Water Innovators challenge 2016:

Check out the Handy Pod "Float" Experience by the Australian team Goulburn Valley, Water Innovators 2016:


Solve winners and runners up > 

Team LaBobo Product Journey > 

Anglian Water Aspara Solve training pack > 

Sap Sewage Savers HandyPod solution >

Team Aspara's drinking water station poster >

Goulburn Valley's lightweight HandyPod design >


DCWW fund summary > 

Sap Sewage Savers fund model >

Goulbourn Valley Water's fund comic strip >

Team Tuk Sa'at's fundraising plan >


Team Aspara's Learn report >

South Aussie Innovators' learn poster >

2017 Timeline

  • 28 February: Deadline for signing up your team
  • March: Hold launch event to plan how you're going to respond to Water Innovators as a team and share video team intro with WaterAid
  • April: All teams deliver a business pitch for seed-funding
  • May: Your opportunity to check in with WaterAid 
  • September: All teams share their deliverables for all three areas solve, fund and learn with WaterAid. 
  • October: Local winners announced, overall winners from around the world deliverables are pitted against each other and one team will be declared “Global Overall Winners”.

Terms and conditions

Download the UK terms and conditions >

Download the US terms and conditions > 

Download the Australia terms and conditions >

Interested in becoming a company sponsor?

Download the role outline >

Contact us

Phone: 020 7793 4594
Email: [email protected]

Media partners

Utility Week LiveWWT