Engineering students and junior engineers across the UK are being called upon to find radical ideas to tackle the nation’s growing water crisis as part of the Water Futures Challenge.

The competition, run by global plumbing and drainage solutions provider, Wavin, and held in partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), outlines four urgent challenges for entrants to address. The brief offers them the opportunity to apply their skills to create game-changing solutions that could prevent the UK’s water infrastructure from reaching breaking point.

The four challenges are:

  • How can we better address man-made pollution across our rivers and waterways?
  • How can we rethink the way the UK protects urban areas against flooding?
  • How can we use the increasing levels of rainfall and stormwater to our advantage?
  • How can we make high-rise buildings more efficient when it comes to heating and water reuse?

The Water Futures Challenge is open to all engineering students and professional engineers with less than 3 years’ experience. Entries, in the form of written submissions, are now open, with shortlisting taking place in March.

Shortlisted entrants will have the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of industry experts at a showcase event at the ICE headquarters in Central London on 3rd May 2022. Their ideas will be brought to life by digital artists and will go on display at the headquarters at Number One, Great George Street.

The engineer who creates the winning idea relating to each challenge will receive £1,000 towards their studies and career goals. The overall grand winner will become the first ICE Water Futures Ambassador. As well as winning another £1,000 on top of their initial prize money, the Water Futures Ambassador will be invited to join ICE’s Flooding Community Advisory Board, which meets regularly through the year. This position will give them the opportunity to sit in at the top table and discuss major water issues and solutions, while networking with other professionals driving engineering forward.

The Water Futures Ambassador will also be invited to attend all ICE Knowledge Live Events throughout the year and write blogs for the ICE website, acting as an integral part of the ICE Knowledge Community.

Mike Ward, Wavin Managing Director UK and Ireland, commented: “The issues we’re outlining in the Water Futures Challenge: flooding, water pollution, increased rainfall, and water conservation, are getting more urgent and are impacting a growing number of people.

“We need to start thinking radically, and this means identifying and fast-tracking ideas from this uniquely creative generation before it’s too late. This new brief will give student engineers and junior engineers the opportunity to showcase their talents and help build strong relationships between them and the wider industry. These relationships will be key to ensuring that we continue to create healthy, sustainable environments where future generations can thrive.”

To find out more about the Water Futures Challenge, including details on how to enter, visit

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