Imagine H2O Water Policy Challenge to Promote Data Solutions in California

Sept. 21, 2016

Second annual program offers cash awards and support to leading policy innovators

Imagine H2O (IH2O), the water innovation accelerator, has announced its second annual California Water Policy Challenge. The competition will showcase policy proposals enabling the deployment of water data innovations and technologies. The winner and finalists will be eligible to receive up to $40,000 in cash awards, mentorship from leading experts and introductions to strategic partners. The results will be announced at a leadership event in Sacramento in April 2017.

Data is vital to help California's farmers, businesses and communities monitor and manage water resources more effectively. Promising data solutions exist—from remote farm sensing and monitoring to real-time quality testing. Policy change will help drive adoption of these technologies in the market. The Policy Challenge highlights actionable policy recommendations that dismantle obstacles to innovation and strengthen the quality of water accounting and management.

The Milken Institute, the Water Foundation, and the Pacific Institute join IH2O as program partners to support the Challenge and the winning teams. 

"California's success in renewable energy is largely a result of policy innovation," said Buzz Thompson, professor of Stanford Law School and director of the Woods Institute for the Environment, who also will be judging the challenge. "It's time California gave water the same attention it has given energy. IH2O's program allows us to identify practical, intelligent policy approaches that can get water data solutions deployed in California."

Since 2009, IH2O has transformed emerging water startups into scalable, high-impact businesses. The organization's accelerator has helped more than 70 companies win customers and receive more than $1 in every $10 of early-stage investment in the water sector. By supporting the development of data-driven water solutions through forward-thinking policy, IH2O expands its commitment further to advance the market for water innovation.

"The Policy Challenge provided us with valuable exposure and recognition at an important time for our organization," said Cynthia Koehler, executive director of WaterNow Alliance and a 2016 finalist. "Since participating in this initiative, we've grown our capacity and secured strategic partnerships to help accelerate our activities."

IH2O's inaugural Policy Challenge attracted more than 100 submissions from academia, NGOs, government entities and the private sector. The program fostered cross-sector dialogue with government and philanthropy to unlock innovation opportunities and drive policy change. Applications for the 2017 program are now open. Winners will be determined by an independent panel of California water experts and supported with cash awards, mentorship and visibility.

Source: Imagine H2O

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