San Francisco — Imagine H2O, the water innovation accelerator, announced the results of the 2017 California Water Policy Challenge, an initiative that solicits fresh policy ideas that enable the deployment of innovative data technologies.
Data is essential to help California’s farmers, businesses and communities better monitor and manage water resources. Effective data solutions exist, but policy barriers often prevent broad adoption in municipal, agricultural and industrial markets. A supportive policy environment is vital to foster a market for water innovation. Enter Imagine H2O’s 2017 California Water Policy Challenge.
“We launched the California Water Policy Challenge to reinforce our accelerator program and our commitment to water innovation,” says Scott Bryan, President at Imagine H2O. “We wanted to source policy ideas that accelerate the adoption of water data technologies to strengthen water management in the state.”
The 2017 Challenge called for policy proposals that improve the collection, management, and use of water data in agricultural, industrial or municipal markets. Imagine H2O received 40 applications from academia, private industry and government. Winning teams will receive cash prizes, mentorship and visibility.
An independent panel of California water experts reviewed proposals addressing a range of issues from water rights to water markets, agricultural water efficiency to green infrastructure. The judges named the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at Berkeley Law (CLEE) and Water and Power Law Group LLC as the Challenge winner. “The Policy Challenge offers a tremendous opportunity for winners to identify and elevate 21st-century water policies to state leaders,” said Kevin Klowden, Executive Director of the Milken Institute’s California Center and IH2O judge. “The winning proposal has the potential to facilitate a paradigm shift in the collection and use of water data.”
In partnership with the Milken Institute and hosted by Cal EPA, Imagine H2O will feature the top applicants at its Water Policy + Innovation Summit on May 16 in Sacramento. The event will bridge the gap between emerging water technologies, innovative policy ideas, and those California policy makers on the frontlines of driving change. The winning teams will present their ideas directly to decision makers and stakeholders keen to support deployment of innovation across the water sector.
“This award will help build the attention, support, and momentum for next steps towards making the project a reality,” says Michael Kiparsky, lead of the CLEE team. Richard Roos-Collins, principal for the Water and Power Law Group, added: “Diverse stakeholders support this effort to modernize California’s water rights database, and the IH2O award will accelerate progress, including the important step of undertaking a pilot project in 2017.”
About the winners:
Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at Berkeley Law (CLEE) and Water and Power Law Group LLC (Winner): Create a modern information system of water rights and water use that will enable deliberate, real-time decision making on the allocation of water in California.
Mammoth Trading (Runner-Up): Incentivize the agricultural community to participate in groundwater data collection through the development of innovative groundwater markets.
Got Produce (Runner-Up): Improve access to loans for innovative water efficiency technologies for farmers through third-party validation of water savings.
Water in the West at Stanford University (Honorable Mention): Build a flexible digital tool that quantifies the benefits and risks of Green Infrastructure projects.
More information about Imagine H2O is available at http://www.imagineh2o.org.