Imagine H2O to launch inaugural Water Policy Challenge with $25k prize

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 12, 2015. Imagine H2O the leading accelerator for water innovation, today announced its 2015 California Water Policy Challenge. The Challenge aims to identify policy approaches that help California's cities, farms and industries deploy water technologies. The winning entry will receive up to $25,000 in support.

According to a recent UC Davis study, California's drought has already resulted in an estimated $2.7bn in lost revenue and 18,600 lost jobs. Water available to agriculture in 2015 will be 67% below average. Policy that enables the deployment of water technology can not only address the state's water challenge, but also create new economic opportunities, now and in the future.

Imagine H2O, whose accelerator portfolio represents over $1 in every $10 of early­ stage financing in the water sector, will work with some of the state's leading water experts to identify policy ideas that effectively balance impact and political feasibility to drive the market for water innovation.   

"This is an original, constructive approach to support the adoption of technology which will allow our economy to produce more with less water," said AG Kawamura, Challenge Judge and former California Secretary of Agriculture.

Many of the technologies required to reduce the water intensity of California's economy already exist. The problem has been incentivizing water users to deploy them.  Policy improvements could remove obstacles to using worthy water technology solutions and create incentives for broader adoption of water technology.

"California's success in renewable energy is largely a result of forward thinking policy," said Buzz Thompson, Professor at Stanford Law School and Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment who will also be judging the Challenge. "It's time California gave water the same attention it has given energy. Imagine H2O's approach allows us to identify practical, intelligent policy solutions that can get technology deployed in California."

Winners will be determined by an independent panel of California water leaders. Finalists will participate in a showcase event in Sacramento in early 2016 after receiving mentorship from leading water policy experts. The winning entry will receive up to $25,000 in support to develop the policy idea.