AWE and SFPUC Win Imagine H2O Water Policy Challenge

Imagine H2O today announced the results of its inaugural California Water Policy Challenge. The initiative, which seeks to advance the market for water innovation through forward-thinking policy, attracted over one hundred submissions from academia, the private sector, government entities and NGOs. Successful applicants presented Imagine H2O with actionable policy recommendations to drive adoption of water technologies by California's cities, farms and industries.

Public policy is vital to help California deploy water technology more effectively while inspiring the State's innovation economy to tackle the looming water crisis. Imagine H2O, the water innovation accelerator, launched the California Water Policy Challenge to highlight the need to overcome regulatory barriers to innovation and catalyze public-private collaboration on policy design and implementation.

"The California Water Policy Challenge demonstrates a growing interest in how policy can incentivize water technology adoption in the California market," said Nimesh Modak, Director of the Policy Program at Imagine H2O. "We hope this program serves to foster new partnerships with government to deliver real policy change and unlock innovation opportunities."

The Challenge's judging panel, comprised of experts in California water policy, selected a winner and three finalists to be featured at a forum in Sacramento on February 9, 2016. Policymakers and key stakeholders will discuss the proposals and the opportunities and challenges in the path towards implementation.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) teamed up on the winning proposal and will receive up to $25,000 in support. The partnership presented a compelling case for how discrete policy improvements to water reuse and recycling standards could incentivize water users to deploy on-site treatment technologies. "On-site water treatment is a widely recognized solution with considerable promise in the California market," says Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of AWE.

"We look forward to developing a policy framework for onsite water systems that protects public health and allows for innovation and broader adoption of treatment technologies," says Paula Kehoe, Director of Water Resources with the SFPUC.

The Challenge recognizes three additional proposals as Finalists. The Freshwater Trust aims to improve coordination between groundwater and flood control agencies through a novel innovative recharge crediting scheme; Greywater Action and the Decentralized Water Policy Council offers guidance to streamline permitting of residential greywater systems; and WaterNow Alliance addresses constraints in public finance to better empower utilities to adopt new sustainable water technologies at scale.

The Results:

2016 Imagine H2O Policy Challenge Winner 
Alliance for Water Efficiency and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

2016 Imagine H2O Policy Challenge Finalists 
The Freshwater Trust         
Greywater Action and Decentralized Water Policy Council
WaterNow Alliance

About Imagine H2O
Imagine H2O provides entrepreneurs around the world with the resources, insight and visibility to launch and scale innovative water businesses. Since 2009, Imagine H2O's accelerator has helped over 60 innovative companies win customers and receive more than $1 in every $10 of early stage investment in the water sector.