Bluewater Names Urban Drinking Water Challenge Winners

Bluewater Group, Imagine H2O and 11th Hour Racing have named the 2018 winners of the Urban Drinking Water Challenge. The challenge is a global innovation competition to deploy and scale decentralized drinking water solutions for fast-growing, water-scarce cities.

According to Bluewater, over 160 startups from 37 countries registered for the challenge. The winners are Drinkwell from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Microlyze from Denver, CO, and SmartTerra from Bengaluru, India, and represent a diverse range of technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to solve urban water scarcity and advance U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The challenge’s founding partners have committed up to $1 million in cash prizes, pilot funding awards and investment. Each winner will be showcased in Stockholm during World Water Week August 26 through 31.

Evaluated on the basis of commercial viability, impact and market readiness, the winning startups merge technology with innovative business models to improve the reach and sustainability of drinking water services:

  • Drinkwell is expanding its turnkey decentralized water purification systems across arsenic-contaminated communities in Bangladesh.
  • Microlyze is deploying real-time water testing devices to empower households and provide cost-effective monitoring for U.S. utilities.
  • SmartTerra is equipping second-tier Indian cities with the tools for data-driven decision making and operations to improve delivery and access for the underserved.

“Over the next three decades, projected demand for water in cities will increase by 70% resulting in more scenarios similar to Cape Town, which is suffering acute drinking water scarcity,” said Anders Jacobson, Bluewater president and chief strategy officer. This competition unlocks the resources to validate and scale three promising solutions that prove the benefits of smarter water management in the face of rapid urbanization and looming drinking water shortages.”