Why the Clean Water Challenge?

The purpose of this challenge is to find tangible and cost effective solutions to complex, pervasive water quality problems. The Clean Water Challenge also raises awareness of the extent and impact of urban waterway pollution, the importance of protecting our valuable water resources, and the economic and financial considerations of waterway pollution issues and solutions.

Learn more about this competition by registering the CWC Kick-Off Webinar on August 25th, from 12 – 1 pm.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions, so be sure to sign up by clicking the button below!

Student Team Registration

Team Registration will open in August. Check back soon!

What is the Clean Water Challenge?

The Clean Water Challenge (formerly the Clean River Design Challenge) is a statewide competition that engages undergraduate and graduate level students in the generation of innovative water pollution solutions.

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For the 2021-2022 CWC, teams will be tasked with reducing / removing E. coli and/or excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen). Teams may focus on either or both pollutants, and they can pursue prevention and /or removal strategies.

Through their own class and University program, students spend the first semester of CWC gaining understanding of the water quality problem and its causes, and developing a proposed concept for solution. 

The second semester focuses on final design / refinement, documenting the solution’s effectiveness and feasibility, and development of a concept business plan. 

At the end of the second semester teams present their solution in the form of a “pitch” for a product or service accompanied by a concept business plan for implementation. 

A panel of expert judges will select the top three teams to receive a modest cash prize. In addition, the first place team will be invited to participate in Trout Tank Sustainability, a business pitch accelerator program co-hosted by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and TAP-IN.

Who Can Participate?

  • This competition is for undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in a Colorado-based institution of higher education
  • All academic disciplines are welcome and interdisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged. Along with creativity and innovation, environmental economics and business perspectives will be crucial to be successful in this competition. 

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Are you a Professional, Professor or Student

interested in participating?


If you are a professional interested in any of these opportunities, please contact:

Devon Buckels, Director
The Water Connection


If you are a professor interested in participating in this competition,
please contact:

Lauren Berent, Associate Director
The Water Connection


If you are a student interested in participating in this competition,
please contact:

Lauren Berent, Associate Director
The Water Connection

How do I Register?

When registration is open, all teams and members will register online. Click the link to register your team!

Link to the registration page will be active August 2021. 

Thank you to our Sponsors and Partners:

CASFM - Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers