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Imagine H2O

Urban Drinking Water Challenge ’18

Solving Water Scarcity Through Innovation

The United Nations has predicted a 40% shortfall in global water supply by 2030, due to increasing demand, changing climate and weather patterns, and mismanaged use. Through the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Cape Town, South Africa, 11th Hour Racing saw first-hand how drinking water scarcity is impacting the quality of life and the environment in certain large cities around the world, often affecting the poorest parts of the community the hardest.

There are currently 37 mega-cities with populations of 10 million plus. The UN forecasts that the 54 percent of the world population currently living in urban areas will rise to 66 percent by 2050, a mass urbanization that will exacerbate the challenge of managing living environments. The Challenge aligns with U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6, or SDG6, which calls for universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

The Urban Drinking Water Challenge ’18 with Bluewater and Imagine H2O is designed to create direct and scalable impact for water-scarce cities and at-risk communities, inspire community awareness and public action, promote the role of innovation and entrepreneurship, and facilitate the deployment of real solutions to a real problem. This global innovation challenge ties together issues of water scarcity as a result of climate change, equity issues surrounding drinking water, and plastic waste caused by limited access to clean reliable municipal water.

  • The 2018 Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge is an initiative of Imagine H2O, the global water innovation accelerator. The 2018 Urban Drinking Water Challenge offers up to $1 million to deploy and invest in winning solutions.
  • The competition seeks entrepreneurs and innovators developing promising solutions related to:
    • Alternative Water Supply for cities facing shortages, such as water reuse; groundwater management/recharge; water storage/rainwater harvesting; low-energy desalination techniques; innovations in water conservation; and atmospheric water generation.
    • Distributed Access and Delivery for emergency relief, and/or through kiosks and consumer points of use that allow consumers to access water sustainably and avoid the use of single-use plastic bottles.
    • Ecosystem Health, for developing technologies used to monitor and manage the health of waterways, including wastewater, stormwater, and sewer overflow, with the detection/monitoring of contaminants, pollutants or microplastics.
  • The three winners were honored at Stockholm Water Week inAugust 2018. They are eligible for cash awards and deployment funds and will receive targeted mentorship from industry and policy experts, marketing and visibility support, and will be eligible for investment consideration from the Challenge partners.

About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people to deploy and develop innovation to solve water challenges globally. The organization’s water innovation accelerator provides entrepreneurs with the resources, insight, and visibility to launch and scale water solutions. By partnering with industry and policy experts and a global network of customers and investors, Imagine H2O has become a proven path to market for emerging water technology businesses. Since 2009, organization’s program alumni have collectively raised more than 1 in every 10 dollars of venture capital in the water industry.

Watch above: Our Program Director, Todd McGuire joined each of the founders of the winning organizations, along with Anders Jacobson, CEO, and Co-founder of Bluewater, for a “sofa session” to learn about the challenges the organizations are tackling. Watch below to find out what drives these innovators.

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