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On World Water Day: 11th Hour Racing and Bluewater announce 2nd Annual Urban Water Challenge

by 11th Hour Racing 22 Mar 09:19 PDT
Drinkwell, one of 2018 Urban Drinking WC winners, is addressing problem of safe water access in Dhaka. Challenge will empower water technology startups and end users to deploy innovative solutions and strive for a sustainable, plastic-free water future. © Drinkwell

11th Hour Racing and Bluewater promote human ingenuity to tackle urban water threats with the second annual Imagine H2O Urban Water Challenge offering one million dollars in awards funding and investment.

In honor of World Water Day and the 2019 theme, 'leaving no one behind', 11th Hour Racing and Bluewater Group announced the second annual Urban Water Challenge, a global innovation competition that empowers entrepreneurs to deploy water technologies within fast-growing cities globally.

The Founding Partners of the Challenge, 11th Hour Racing and Bluewater Group, collectively committed up to $1,000,000 in pilot award funding and investment opportunities to jumpstart and scale innovative water solutions.

"11th Hour Racing drives solution-based innovation to challenge the issues facing the health of the Earth's waters, which is linked directly to our own health," said Jeremy Pochman, Co-founder and Strategic Director of 11th Hour Racing. "The Urban Water Challenge provides unique access to vetted water solutions for cities and communities, bringing together new opportunities for on-site treatment and plastic pollution control, as well as innovative, off-grid access to safe drinking water through affordable, capital-efficient alternatives."

The 2019 Challenge unlocks deployment awards to test and validate novel, planet-friendly water technology solutions in major cities to inspire their wider adoption globally. This year, the Challenge will also feature a discovery track for promising ideas in breakthrough technology categories.

"The world faces mounting severe water stress due to global warming as well as increasing threats of contamination to urban water supplies and ecosystems," said Anders Jacobson, co-founder and CEO of Blue, the Stockholm-based sustainability impact-driven financial institution owning Bluewater. "Blue is supporting the Challenge because we believe human ingenuity will play a vital role in unleashing new technologies and business models that help us address these issues and get us back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. By combining driving innovation and supporting deployment through Bluewater with initiatives like Urban Water Challenge and focusing investments into the water industry, Blue hopes to create a unique water community which can accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable water innovations."

The 2019 Challenge will identify technology startups across three primary themes: Drinking Water; Water Reuse and Recycling; Ecosystem Health. Each theme will be defined by specific problem statements to ensure that the solutions sourced through the Challenge meet the real needs of customers in diverse markets. The winners will be showcased at an award ceremony and series of events during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, August 25-29.

The 2018 inaugural Challenge received 160 applications across 54 countries. Three winners received pilot funding awards to monitor lead contamination in the US, remove arsenic in Bangladesh and digitize water infrastructure in India.

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