Dreampipe II Phase 2 Winner's Announced

On 9 May 2018, within the International Water Association’s Water Loss Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, the winners of the Dreampipe Challenge were announced during a gala dinner attended by over 400 delegates, from both public and private sector.

The Dreampipe Challenge is an innovation prize competition run by Ideas to Impact, a programme implemented by IMC Worldwide and funded by UK Aid delivered by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Its aim is to stimulate creative solutions across climate change adaptation, access to energy and water, sanitation and hygiene, in developing countries.

Launched in 2016, the goal of the Dreampipe Challenge is to encourage solutions to the issue of non-revenue water (NRW), which is the difference between water supplied by utilities and water billed to customers. NRW is a major development challenge in low-income countries, which already face water scarcity, rapid urbanisation and growing population.

The Dreampipe Challenge aims to reduce NRW by catalysing at least half of the investments required from ‘unusual’ sources, such as commercial banks, as opposed to development finance, in order to find a sustainable long-term fix to the issue.

‘The Dreampipe competition has focused attention on the way relatively small interventions to reduce non-revenue water can bring substantial financial gains to water utilities – in addition to yielding economic and social benefits. It has also highlighted the challenges many utilities in developing countries face in mobilising needed funds and in implementing coherent and sustained strategies for tackling the problem.’

- Chris Shugart, Dreampipe Challenge Technical Lead

The Dreampipe Challenge’s winners of Phase II have successfully delivered small pilot projects, which they have self-financed, based on business plans developed during the competition’s first phase. These initiatives have either tackled water physical losses, such as leaking pipes, or commercial losses, such as meter inaccuracies and illegal connections, or both.

The winners

WRP, South Africa

WRP is an engineering consultancy of international standing in the fields of water resources engineering, water conservation and water demand management, including NRW reduction. They won the first place prize of £70,000 for their work with the city of Tshwane, funded largely by South African Breweries.

They implemented their demonstration project in an area with 51,000 water connections. The intervention focused on night flow analysis, pressure optimisation, pump management, leak detection and substitution of local groundwater for more costly purchased bulk water.

Leak repairs reduced the network water supply requirements by 15%, which is the equivalent of about 200,000 cubic metres per month. Most of this had previously been NRW.

‘We have enjoyed working on our submission for the Dreampipe Award as it has encouraged us to structure our project in a systematic and pragmatic manner which adds great value to the project. The award also encourages the participants to develop funding models that can be replicated elsewhere and this will hopefully have a meaningful impact on funding of future non-revenue water reduction projects.’

- Ronnie Mckenzie, Managing Director, WRP

Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC), Zambia

NWSC won the second prize of £50,000 for implementing a demonstration project in Mukuba Natwange, an area with 1,100 water connections located in Kitwe town, Zambia.

Their approach consisted of the setup of a district metered zone equipped with bulk meters, a baseline survey and database cleanup, replacement of leaking distribution mains and community mobilisation. Customer metering was increased from 75% to 98%.

Weircapacity, Nigeria

Weircapacity is an infrastructure and management consultancy with expertise in advisory services for water, environment and infrastructure. They won £30,000 for the project that they implemented in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, in an area with 450 water connections. They worked with the Kaduna State Water Corporation (KADSWAC), one of the 37 urban water utilities in the north of the country.

The intervention involved a thorough mapping of the network, installation of bulk meters and a detailed customer survey. Additionally, preliminary discussions have already been held with commercial banks about the financing of an expansion project.

National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), Uganda

NWSC won £30,000 for its project in Kyaliwajjala Branch, one of the 24 administrative units in the Kampala Water supply service area.

The project, which was delivered in an area with 16,000 water connections, involved a comprehensive set of measures to tackle both physical and commercial losses. A sharp focus was on the laying of new water mains, proactive leak detection and repair, meter testing and repair, improved customer knowledge and detection of illegal connections.

‘The Dreampipe Challenge has done a great job in promoting a holistic view of NRW, including engineering, technological solutions, and economics. We’re pleased to see that many utilities have risen to the challenge, and started addressing these issues.’

- Froeydis Gording, Prize Manager

For further information, please direct your enquiries to the Dreampipe Challenge team at contact@dreampipe.org

Press Release: Dreampipe II Launched

DFID makes up to £1,000,000 of cash prizes available to innovators in the sector.

 Friday, October 21, 2016.

 On October 21, Dreampipe II launched at the International Water Association Water Ideas 2016 Conference in Bologna. The objective of Dreampipe II is to encourage the development of workable and replicable ideas for how to expand the financing available for non-revenue-water (NRW) reduction activities in developing countries – beyond the conventional sources ( which are predominantly development banks, agencies and governments). The key will be to find ways to reduce perceived risk for the new sources, especially (but not only) for commercial lenders.

 Up to 10 winners for Phase 1 can win £30,000 each. Up to £1,000,000 of prize money is available over the course of the challenge.

 Dreampipe II is open to applicants from around the world. Proposed solutions will also have to be applicable in one (or several) of the 28 DFID target countries.

 Every year 32m cubic metres of treated water physically leak from urban supply systems. Additionally 16 million cubic metres of water is delivered to customers for zero revenue. This puts a significant strain on government resources and their ability to deliver to the public.

 Reducing water losses and illegal connections is a key challenge in developing countries. Expanding the financing available for these efforts will help bring clean water at lower cost to more of the world’s poor”. - Prize Director, Chris Shugart.

 This prize call is part of the Ideas to Impact programme, implemented by IMC Worldwide, which seeks to find innovative solutions to development challenges in the areas of climate change, energy access and WASH.

 Dreampipe II is targeted at water utility experts, financial experts and transaction advisors who may or may not have prior experience in the water sector. Interested innovators are encouraged to register at www.dreampipe.org by February 15, 2017. The deadline for entries for stage one of the challenge is March 15, 2017.

 To learn more about the programme please visit www.dreampipe.org

 Contact: Froeydis Gording, Prize Manager, IMC Worldwide: froeydis.gording@imcworldwide.com


Press Release: Launch of Dreampipe Challenge

LONDON, 1 February 2016: Dreampipe, a major British government-funded, multi-year innovation prize, was launched today, aiming to stem the amount of water lost in developing countries through leakage, meter inaccuracies and unauthorized use.

The initiative will spur improved ways of mobilising funding to reduce the vast amounts of 'non-revenue water' (NRW) – the difference between water entering the system and water billed to customers – in developing countries. The total purse for prize winners is £1.25mn ($1.8mn) to be distributed in several tranches over two stages (up to five in stage I and three in stage II) over the next 22 months. The competition will appeal to financial specialists and water utility experts – most likely working together. It is expected that successful solutions will mobilise multiple times the prize purse in funding.

Reducing NRW lowers costs, increases revenue, brings about a more equitable distribution of water and helps to conserve precious -- and increasingly scarce -- water resources. The emphasis to date in water-loss reduction has been on the technical aspects.

“What has lagged behind are widely applicable solutions for financing related investments. The resources of international financial institutions are limited. This prize will stimulate thinking on how to increase the provision of needed financing,” said the prize’s manager, Chris Shugart. “In principle, these deals will be financeable: by cutting costs and raising revenue, well-planned investments to reduce NRW can pay for themselves over 7–10 years.”

One study estimates water losses at 27bn cubic metres annually in the urban areas of developing countries. Halving NRW losses in developing countries could generate $2.9bn in cash annually and service an additional 90mn people, without using new water resources[1].

Entries will be judged by a panel of experts seeking improved financing solutions that can be standardised, replicated and scaled up to serve the needs of many water utility companies.

“Financing for water infrastructure investment in developing economies has been hard to mobilise owing to lack of borrower creditworthiness and high risk,” said Tom Williams, Programmes Director at the International Water Association (IWA). "This prize should help incentivise and drive improvements and move utilities towards more efficient service delivery.”

The prize is part of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) “Ideas to Impact” innovation inducement programme, which aims to resolve challenges in water and sanitation, climate change and energy access. Dreampipe is managed by a consortium led by the British-based consultancy IMC Worldwide. The launch is supported by the IWA.

Further information: The prize’s website, which includes additional information, background data and links, can be visited here www.dreampipe.org For more on “Ideas to Impact,” visit http://www.ideastoimpact.net/  

Media Contact:  For further information on Dreampipe, contact Matthew Saltmarsh: msaltmarsh@daismedia.co.uk, or +44(0)75780051763


[1] Kingdom, Liemberger & Marin 2006 ‘The Challenge of Reducing Non-Revenue Water in Developing Countries.’ (World Bank PPIAF)