New program launched to advance innovative water infrastructure solutions

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 29, 2014 -- Today, Imagine H2O, a nonprofit supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in the water sector, launched its Infrastructure Challenge -- the company's sixth annual Business Innovations Program. The challenge will identify and support innovative water businesses presenting scalable solutions that improve water and wastewater infrastructure, which ultimately result in quantifiable cost savings or environmental impact.

To date, over 350 startups from 15 countries have participated in the international program, which supports innovations in emerging and developed markets alike. Participating water startups will compete for cash awards and in-kind services, as well as admission to Imagine H2O's Accelerator Program, where they will receive mentorship from sector experts and introductions to investors, strategic partners and end users. The program will also connect winning companies with utilities from the company's growing network of water utilities and agencies, which currently serves over 25 million people in major metropolitan areas throughout the country.

Over 400 industry experts and Imagine H2O's Scientific Advisory Council guided the topic selection process. They chose infrastructure for the innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities it presents. Nearly $20 trillion in investment is needed to meet the water infrastructure needs of the global population, according to a recent McKinsey report. As of 2012, 83 percent of those without access to an improved drinking water source lived in rural areas, and continued rapid population growth in urban areas will further strain existing water supply. According to 21 mayors in major U.S. metropolitan areas in a letter to President Obama, one fifth of the U.S. economy would "grind to a halt" without a reliable and clean supply of water.

"Systematic failure related to extreme weather patterns and growing population place more stress on global water infrastructure and supply," said Imagine H2O COO Scott Bryan. "Deteriorating and nonexistent water infrastructure is a concern to populations all across the world, and catalyzing and supporting entrepreneurial water solutions is an essential step toward building a secure water future and more resilient infrastructure."

Imagine H2O's judging panel, which has previously included leading industry experts from companies such as CH2M Hill, American Water, Ecolab, and True North Venture Partners, will base its selection of the winners and runners up on their commercial viability, customer value proposition, go-to market strategy, and financial plan. Imagine H2O's major financial supporters include Wells Fargo (Headline Sponsor), Grundfos, Cooley LLP, and the California Water Foundation.

See also:

"Wells Fargo invests in leading water innovation accelerator, Imagine H2O"

"Program to identify, implement water innovations in food, agriculture sector"


About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O inspires and empowers people to solve water challenges and turn them into opportunities. We offer annual competitions for water innovation with focused, specific challenges including Water Efficiency (2009), Water-Energy Nexus (2010), Wastewater (2011), Consumer Innovations (2012), and Food and Agriculture (2013). In addition to financial support for the best ideas, the Imagine H2O Accelerator helps participating entrepreneurs turn their plans into transformational, real-world solutions. For more information, visit www.imagineh2o.org.

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