The Water Connection


The Water Connection (TWC) focused on program evaluation and community needs in 2020 in preparation for the Clean River Design Challenge in 2021.  In the 2021-2022 competition college teams will be tasked with reducing E. coli and/or excess nutrients in local waterways. Teams will present their solution in the form of a proposal for a product or service accompanied by a business plan for implementation.  Winners will have the unique opportunity to participate in a business accelerator program through the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Clean Water Initiative

After a successful pilot of the half-scale prototype, plans are underway for the next generation of Nautilus. With the goal of improving the environmental health and recreational appeal and safety of South Platte and Metro Basin waterways, the Nautilus prototype will be evaluated, adapted as needed, and built at a larger scale.  Plans are underway for Nautilus Gen2 to be installed in a Metro Denver waterway.  In addition to collecting trash, the installation will be used to increase community awareness and understanding of trash related issues.

Gutter Bins collected close to 5,000 pounds of trash and debris! These stormwater filtration devices, and others, are finding their way into many Denver Metro area communities with growing interest from both public and private sector entities.  TWC continues to advocate for stormwater filtration through devices like these and other practices such as green infrastructure for clean water.

Policy & Development

The Denver One Water Plan kicked off this year! The Water Connection is part of the Core Planning Team that will develop a plan that implements a One Water approach that integrates land use and water resources planning and results in a holistic management of watersheds. In spite of the challenges brought about by the public health crisis, the DOWP has succeeded in obtaining significant engagement and participation from stakeholders, as well as the public, through its virtual meetings and surveys.  The effort’s focus will shift to implementation after the plan concludes in 2021. 

A primary aim of the Denver One Water Plan is to promote healthy watersheds in an equitable, economically, and environmentally beneficial manner. This plan will break down the traditional silos of water (drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, surface water, etc.) and enable this precious resource to be managed in a more cohesive manner. 

Innovation & Business

TAP-IN Colorado convenes Coloradans around water challenges, to bring fresh voices to the conversation and build a collaborative network across communities. Despite the challenges of 2020, TAP-IN met virtually with our Advisory Committee and hosted a panel with industry leaders titled “Using an Entrepreneurial Spirit to Do Good”. This virtual panel was co-hosted with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and over 35 people tuned in to learn about the overlap between those in the entrepreneurial space and those working to solve environmental problems. 


In 2021, TWC will be hosting a Reverse Pitch event where end users of water business products and services present their challenges to a community of entrepreneurs to spur new and innovative solutions to Colorado’s water challenges.

In 2021, TWC will be collaborating with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to host Trout Tank Sustainability, a business accelerator for environmentally-minded startups including new start-ups in the water sector.