Teams across the country will be working furiously on their entries for the G20 water challenge.

They will compete for a $100,000 prize and the glory of out-designing students from around the world.

A number of Australia’s leading universities, including three from Brisbane, have entered the G20 Global Business Challenge, which this year is aimed at developing innovative solutions to water scarcity.

Queensland University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said applications to tackle the challenge came from all corners of the map.

“The volume of applications has exceeded expectations – teams from 30 countries have applied, including from non-G20 nations,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“This reflects the fact water scarcity is a worldwide challenge and, critically, that there is a global appetite to find practical solutions.”

University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the competition would focus the minds of some of the world’s brightest students on innovations in water use and management.

“Finding sustainable ways to use and manage water is a pressing challenge for the world,” Professor Høj said.

“Water, and its increasing scarcity, has emerged as a key issue for governments, industries and communities globally.”

Cambridge University, London Business School, the University of Delhi, the University of Warsaw, Lund University, the University of Witwatersrand, the University of Boston, the University of California and the University of Washington are among the organisations entering the challenge.

Proposed business solutions would be “holistic” in nature and comprise a mix of new technologies and innovative business and financing models, and be completed by July 25.

Global CEOs and financiers will sit on a panel for the final judging in November. Finalists will be announced on 15 August.

Griffith University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Ian O'Connor said the way water is managed, given competing demands from industry and agricultural enterprises, as well as environmental and management concerns, created a degree of complexity that had only recently been acknowledged.

“Traditional approaches to this complex problem – such as research-driven technology-push solutions within larger integrated systems – are too simplistic,” he said.

“Broader holistic and transformative paradigm shifts are required.”

More information can be found at the G20 Global Business Challenge site.