What does the Dreampipe Challenge aim to achieve?

High levels of non-revenue water (NRW) – the difference between water entering the distribution system of the water utility company and water billed to customers – are considered to be one of the major problems plaguing water companies in developing countries. The main causes are leakage, bursts, water theft, and faulty metering and billing. Reducing leakage and bursts enables the company to avoid costs or to supply more water to the population, and can improve the quality of service. Reducing theft and faulty metering and billing increases the revenue going to the company and can lead to in a fairer distribution of water.

The median level of NRW reported for those DFID focus countries for which data are available from IBNET (expressed as a percentage of water entering the system) is 39%. Developed countries average around 15%.

There are many reasons why it has been so difficult to tackle the problem of NRW in the developing world; the issues are complex. One important factor is the difficulty for water companies and service providers to obtain adequate financing to implement effective NRW reduction-and-control programmes.

The immediate objective of the Dreampipe Challenge is to encourage specialists from different fields to think hard about the problems and propose promising new solutions that can increase the financing available to water companies from non-traditional sources for their NRW reduction-and-control activities. “Non-traditional sources” here means sources other than the international financial institutions (such as the World Bank), bilateral development agencies (such as DFID) and governments. The required financing for improved water supply in the developing world far exceeds what can be provided by these institutions, and ways need to be found to tap into new sources.

In a longer view, increasing available water, reducing costs, and boosting revenue can contribute to poverty reduction and to mitigating the global problem of water scarcity.


Who is running the competition?

The competition is managed by IMC Worldwide Ltd, under the Ideas to Impact Programme


What is the source of the funds?

The prizes are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).


What support can I expect to receive during the application process?

The prize management team will respond to any queries you have, or requests for clarification, about the competition and how it works. Questions of potential interest to all Applicants, along with the corresponding responses, will be posted on the Dreampipe website.


Can I modify my application after submission?

Provided you do so before the deadline, you can withdraw your application or you can modify and resubmit it.


Check out our contact page.

How can I contact you if I have a query? 


Can I tweet about you?

Yes. Please use our hashtag #dreampipe and tweet away.


How can I find more background information on NRW?

You can find some documents and articles in the resources page. This should not be considered a definite and comprehensive overview, and applicants are encouraged to read more widely if they wish.


We have ideas about how to reduce nrw but we come at it from the technical aNd institutional side. how can we link up with the people from the financial world?

We suggest that you join our Dreampipe discussion board on LinkedIn and post the same question. This applies also to those of you who are experts in financing or in contracting and want to join forces with water sector specialists.