The Future is Water – Use the power of sport to make impact

The Future is Water (TFIW) is an initiative of the Royal Dutch Water Sports Association and sports marketing agency TIG Sports. They have embraced the challenge of connecting the appealing world of water sports with that of the major challenges around sustainability, climate and water in particular.

The series of impressive international water sports events on the Dutch calendar in the coming years (sailing World Championships, The Ocean Race, Allianz Regatta) and the top athletes offers a powerful and unique platform to influence a wide audience. TFIW offers educational programs in an attractive way, will increase awareness among the next generation and support talent in water. 

WaterSpark is a strategic advisor of TFIW initiative. We opened up our network and closed several strategic partnerships for TFIW (such as Wetskills, WaterFootprint networks, AIWW, Water Alliance, NWP, Nijhuis). Also the project lead role in organizing  the 1st The Future is Water Symposium at Amsterdam International Water Week 2021. This years theme of the symposium is: using the power of sport to make a sustainable & environmental impact. 

The cooperation between TFIW & AIWW is established for several reasons: 

1. As a kick off for TFIW and to put TFIW on the map in the water world

2. an event to experience how the power of water and sport can be uniquely combined to increase in the impact on sustainable water use

3. Bringing new worlds together and collaborative action

Isle’s Water Action Platform – Learning and best practices

The Water Action Platform is an initiative launched by Isle. Isle’s Water Action Platform provides a forum for the sharing of learning and best practice across the water sector. It was initiated in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but now covers a much wider range of water-related topics.

Membership grew rapidly and, as of June 2021, it involves over 1450+ people from 760+ organisations across 92 countries.  The Water Action Platform has become an incredibly vibrant forum for organisations to share their experiences and learnings as well as a brilliant example of true collaboration and the sharing of best practice. WaterSpark supports this initiative as sponsor and content partner. Recently we shared in WAP 31  our thoughts and latest project about using the power of sport to make an impact on water! 


Rabobank Masterclass – Value of Water

Together with our alliance partner PureTerra, we have organized a masterclass for executives & relationship managers within Rabobank. They want to increase the role that water currently plays within Rabobank. As water is
such a vital topic in sustainable development, Rabobank wants to give it a more prominent role in their mission Growing a Better World.

The purpose of the session was to share knowledge and create internal engagement around the topic water. Through buy in, more steps can be made by the bank. So understanding how the water challenges impact their clients was part of the masterclass. Also a brainstorm on how Rabobank can commit clients to reducing their water footprint.

The Young Water Fellowship (YWF) Acceleration programme

The Young Water Fellowship (YWF) Acceleration programme, implemented by Young Water Solutions and cewas, leads high-potential young water entrepreneurs to investment readiness and provides them with the necessary skills to scale their social business. The collaborative approach builds on the needs and requirements of partners and investors and allows to increase the impact of their investment portfolio.

The training programme includes an in-depth enterprise analysis, financing and business strategies and investment matchmaking. Training sessions are combined with tailored coaching, mentoring and peer learning. YWF works with high-potential social enterprises from across the globe with a proof of concept and scalable business models to solve water and sanitation challenges in low- and middle-income countries.

This accelerator is co-implemented with a group of impact investors and other partners interested in water and sanitation businesses. Together with Anchor Friend PureTerra (impact investor) WaterSpark is supporting this programme geared towards enhancing the impact of the investment portfolios.

Learn more here

Blog Annelies @ AVPN Platform

On behalf of WaterSpark, Annelies Schenk wrote a blog for the AVPN platform ‘Tackling the World’s Biggest Challenges: How Leading Corporates Are Investing in Water-Tech Solutions‘. This blog was written based upon the webinar organized by WaterSpark and AVPN to move capital towards water 

AVPN is A leading ecosystem builder that is increasing the flow of capital into the social sector and ensuring that resources are most effectively deployed. At AVPN, they see social investment as a continuum that encompasses everything from philanthropy and venture philanthropy to impact investing, CSR and sustainable investment. We call this the “Continuum of Capital”.

The BLOG: Tackling the World’s Biggest Challenges: How Leading Corporates Are Investing in Water-Tech Solutions

Currently, water stress affects more than 2 billion people around the world, a figure that is projected to rise. Ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all are essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

I believe that foundational knowledge about the water landscape is critical. That’s why I am very thrilled to share insights and considerations for investing in climate responsible water solutions with fellow social investors. My hope is that such convenings can shake things up a bit, create dialogue and debate, and encourage all of us to use our limited resources as wisely as possible to have the greatest impact. Given the numerous alarming reports about increased demand for water, food and energy, and the current impacts of climate change, we really can’t wait.

“Water is a heavily underrated crisis that all human beings are facing. Everybody has been talking about climate chance, which is an important topic, but water being a critical element has long covered being invisibly under the bigger themes. It received less attention than it should have had. So little effort has been done to solve water, that when the United Nations were going through the SDGs and their targets, the conclusion was that only SDG6 (water & sanitation) is going alarmingly off-track.” – Libin Song, lead analyst at PureTerra Ventures

I am actually not surprised by this trend. In fact, I believe that we will not achieve SDG 6 or tackle other complex water challenges with the current tools and mindset. 60% of the water supply shortage cannot be solved by legacy technologies. The status quo along with the current methodology of capital allocation toward global water issues is broken. Too much effort is being placed in the area of instant gratification impact strategies and not enough at the source of the grave problems the world faces with access to safe affordable water. There is no shortage of capital being spent on WASH and other initiatives – which are admirable – but we have to look at the bigger picture by going to the root of the global demand for new sustainable solutions. Disruptive solutions are essential to an environmentally sustainable and an economically viable water cycle. If we do not immediately change our way of thinking and more importantly the way we act, it will not matter anymore how many CSR projects get installed, there will not be any water left to run them.

Corporate water stewardship needs to move in a new direction

Water stewardship is currently creating little impact because the strategies are mostly transactional in nature rather than transformative. The private sector has the opportunity to be part of the solution to water scarcity by leveraging its global reach, skills, workforce, and speed in implementing programmes.

Transformative water stewardship through corporate-driven strategies have the ability to make significant contributions to solving the most pressing water challenges at their root. Corporates woule be able to identify and invest in activities that create brand value, drive innovation in technology, strengthen water governance, advance funding and establish higher impact partnerships and business models. This approach generates greater societal value and positions a company as part of the solution to the 21st century water challenges of today and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

A few corporates are already moved towards this new direction. AVPN member, UPL, and JSW Group have adopted a bold approach that places sustainability at the heart of the business with ambitious sustainability targets.

UPL, one of the leading companies in sustainable agriculture, is investing heavily in innovative technologies, and is well positioned to take up the responsibilities for humanity. “It is clear that we need to focus on water,” says Mrinmoy Choudhury, Global Commercial Lead for Sustainable sSolutions Business at UPL Ltd. For Choudhury it is clear they need to focus on water. It is imperative that agriculture should use water more efficiently. Since the Only 2.5% of fresh water is available for humanity, and 80-85% of it is used in agriculture. It is imperative that agriculture should use water more efficiently. “While climate change has not affected rainfall volume dramatically, it is the distribution (human interference) of the rainfall which has created the most devastating impact.” Since the biggest loss is felt at the field, Choudhury believes that UPL can also create the biggest impact opportunity in this area. By investing in a very interesting soil and water technology, called Zeba, UPL feels it is in the process of directly impacting the consumption of water in the farms by 25%.

Another inspiring role model is JSW Group, an Indian businesses conglomerate with footprints across various sectors, including steel, energy, minerals, port and infrastructure, and cement, across the world. As part of JSW Group efforts to deliver its sustainability vision, it has established policies to carefully and innovatively source for and use water. The specific interventions ‘within the fence’ mentioned by Prabodha Acharya, Chief Sustainability officer at JSW Group demonstrated that the use of water technology (Membrane Bio-reactor (MBR)) within a sewage treatment plant can have a tremendous environmental and economic impact. In fact, using the MBR can reduce fresh water consumption (3800 cubic meter/day), power consumption (1.84 Million kWH per year), emission (1508t CO2 per year). Furthermore, it can create huge cost savings a year!

Both UPL and JSW have demonstrated that the private sector can intervene ‘inside the fence’ (by treating water at the plants) and ‘outside the fence’ (by creating community activities around water), particularly through their strong social arm (i.e. CSR or foundation) and utilising sport to promote sustainability and education. While there is no single answer to the water challenges, the WaterSpark coalition believes we need to centralize knowledge and collaborate to promote, educate, and engage in water development to catalyse investments solutions and avert water challenges globally. I invite all companies and interested parties, big or small, from all regions and sectors to join us on this journey.

AVPN Webinar – Insights for investing in water solutions

Improving awareness and knowledge around the water investment and solutions landscape is critical. While some early movers have already created an impact with their investments, now is the opportunity to broaden the knowledge and learning of water investment among a larger set of practitioners.

WaterSpark in partnership with the AVPN Climate Action Platform  has hosted on Nov 18, 2020 a webinar about mobilising capital at the nexus of climate and water. We will showcase examples from AVPN members active in water investments, sustainable water management practices and industrial technological revolutions.

This webinar will seek to:

  • Enable funders to understand causes and probable impacts of climate change on water resources and how the interlinkages and prospects for climate action can address these challenges
  • Feature industry’s key players providing invaluable insights and overviews on their funding of sustainable water management systems
  • Showcase innovative water management solutions and strategies needed to help manage water more sustainably and solve our global climate and water challenges


Libin Song
Head of China and Lead Analyst – PureTerra Ventures

Prabodha Acharya
Chief Sustainability Officer – JSW Group

Mrinmoy Choudhury
Global Commercial Lead, Sustainable Solutions Business – UPL Ltd


Annelies Schenk
Executive Director

Learn more here

Get in the The Ring Competition – a spotlight on impact startups

We’re happy to announce that the #WaterSpark has joined the Impact Competition as Main Partners for the water theme.

WaterSpark has a mission to scale innovative water solutions, to seize opportunities for collaboration and to centralize this knowledge to foster innovation challenges.

Impact Competition puts a spotlight on impact startups to prove their solutions, scale them globally and boost the global impact ecosystem. By partnering with anchor friends of Waterspark, PureTerra (Alexander Crowell) and WaterFoundry (William Sarni) and Isle Utilities (Piers Clark) we’re confident that we can help water-related startups to scale up and expand their impact.

Annelies Schenk, WaterSpark Founder: “WaterSpark was launched to radically transform, accelerate and scale solutions to the global water challenges. Our mission is to Scale Innovative Water Solutions, to seize opportunities for collaboration and to centralize this knowledge to foster innovation together. We partner with organizations such as Get in the Ring to give innovations the opportunity to accelerate, be recognized and for potential funding.”

Join the Impact Competition —

Water Insights September 2020

The PureTerra Water Insights Q3 Issue is out! In this issue, we have featured topics such as the impact of COVID on water innovations and our perspective on the controversial atmospheric water generation technology.

In addition, we have spoken with multiple stakeholders in agricultural water to explore the investment opportunities there. Finally, this issue is concluded by a review of the water reuse 2020 regulation in the EU and the technologies that we think are going to benefit from it.

Click below to get your daily dose of water insights! Don’t want to miss out on the quarterly periodical? Subscribe to our mailing list here.

#waterinsights #cleanwaterforall #atmosphericwatergeneration #agriculturalwater #waterreuse2020