Imagine H2O Water Policy Challenge to Promote Data Solutions in California

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

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12, 2016 -- Imagine H2O (IH2O), the water innovation accelerator, today 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 will also 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 inCalifornia."

Since 2009, IH2O has transformed emerging water startups into scalable, high-impact businesses. The organization's accelerator has helped over 70 companies win customers and receive more than 1 in every 10 dollars 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," saidCynthia Koehler, Executive Director of WaterNow Alliance and a 2016 Finalist. "Since participating in this unique initiative, we've grown our capacity and secured strategic partnerships to help accelerate our activities."

IH2O's inaugural Policy Challenge attracted over one hundred 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.  

About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O (IH2O), the water innovation accelerator, empowers people to deploy and develop innovation to solve water challenges. Recognized as a proven path-to-market for emerging water technology businesses, IH2O partners with leading customers and investors to support entrepreneurs globally. In 2016, IH2O announced a multi-year water data commitment at the White House Water Summit. The initiative supports data-driven solutions in water through a series of programs, including the 2017 California Water Policy Challenge. Join us at

Nimesh Modak