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ACCELERATING INNOVATION & DIGITALIZATION

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Accelerating Innovation and Digitalization (AID) in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aims to make water innovation more accessible in Asia and the Pacific by building the knowledge and capacity of ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs) and ADB staff to engage, localize and adopt new solutions for a water-secure region. AID is an ADB program in collaboration with Imagine H2O Asia.

WHAT IS AID?

AID is a program designed to empower DMCs to overcome the obstacles that many utilities face when looking for new solutions, while creating opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of ADB projects through innovation and digital transformation. Project teams across the region will participate in the following activities to design and implement innovation pilots:

1. Learning

Identify innovation priorities of DMCs and ADB staff through exchanges and consultations

2. Sourcing

Build and share a pipeline of deployment-ready innovators across a range of thematic areas

3. Matching and validation

Provide resources for solution matching and technology demonstrations

4. Knowledge management

Document and disseminate learnings via the Asia and the Pacific Water Resilience Hub, an open platform dedicated to strengthening water security in the region

5. Scale-up

Connect successful collaborations to scale-up capital and engage other potential adopters

WHY AID?

Water utilities across Asia and the Pacific are searching for solutions to decarbonize, decentralize and digitalize how water is used, treated and accessed. Common barriers to the testing and adoption of innovation across many of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) developing member countries (DMCs) include:

1. Informational

Lack of awareness and/or ability to vet potential solutions

2. Financial

Budget constraints and length approval process

3. Risk Aversion

Perception of risk towards emerging technologies

4. Localization

Limited access to in-country expertise and support

Innovation Showcase

Network & Non-Revenue Water Management

Network & Non-Revenue Water Management

Featured innovators from Imagine H2O’s portfolio addressing network and NRW management:

1. SmartTerra (India) 
AI-powered analytics platform to create a dynamic digital model of a water utility’s network and customers to reduce water loss and improve revenue
Video timestamp – 0:30

2. WI.Plat (S. Korea)
An integrated, complete solution for NRW management utilizing cost-effective acoustic sensing, high precision sensors and a digital app for field validation
Video timestamp – 1:36

3. WEGoT Utility Solutions (India)
Ultrasonic smart meter and analytics to track consumption and leakage for residential and commercial properties
Video timestamp – 2:43

4. Fluid Robotics (India)
AI-based SaaS, FluidAI, that automates wastewater pipeline inspections to significantly improve productivity for utilities, contractors and EPCS as well as FluidHealth which monitors wastewater infrastructure through in-pipe robots to reduce untreated discharge into water bodies
Video timestamp – 4:25

Water Quality Monitoring

Water Quality Monitoring

Featured innovators from Imagine H2O’s portfolio working on water quality monitoring:

1. TracWater (Australia)
Self-powered, multi-sensor robots for physical and chemical water quality measurements in real-time to monitor pipelines and water sources for utilities
Time stamp – 0:24

2. AquAffirm (UK)
Rapid, low-cost and easy-to-use enzyme strip-testing technology and digital monitoring platform for real-time detection and mapping of arsenic and fluoride contamination
Time stamp – 1:59

3. EnvironSens (Singapore)
IoT-enabled water toxicity sensor for real-time warning detection in water bodies and sewer networks
Time stamp – 2:55

4. SENTRY (Canada)
Low maintenance, real-time feed forward monitoring for operators to make decisions that save time and energy for optimized treatment performance
Time stamp – 3:50

Wastewater Treatment & Reuse

Wastewater Treatment & Reuse

Featured innovators from Imagine H2O’s portfolio addressing wastewater treatment and reuse:

1. Hydroleap (Singapore)
Novel electrical treatment technology that incorporates smart automation to mitigate passivation and corrosion consuming less than 1kWh/m3 for difficult-to-treat wastewaters
Time stamp – 0:26 

2. DigitalPaani (India)
Lifecycle management software for wastewater treatment that optimizes and automates workflows for end-to-end plant operations
Time stamp – 1:52

3. Indra Water (India)
Easy-to-install and IoT-enabled 5-200 KLD decentralized electrical treatment systems with 75% less footprint than competing solutions
Time stamp – 3:33

4. Gross-Wen Technologies (US)
Algae-based wastewater treatment for municipal and industrial applications while recovering and recycling nutrients into slow-releasing algal-based fertilizer
Time stamp – 4:39 

Drinking Water Access

Drinking Water Access

Featured innovators from Imagine H2O’s portfolio that are improving drinking water access:

1. Drinkwell (Bangladesh)
Novel filtration technology using a nanotechnology-based resin that removes arsenic and fluoride along with water ATMs through a unique PPP cost-sharing financing model with utilities
Time stamp – 0:29

2. Liquinex (Singapore)
Compact water purification system of varying sizes using ceramic UF and UV-LED disinfection for mobile deployment in disaster-affected, remote communities or for residential use
Time stamp – 1:57

3. Typhon Treatment Systems (UK)
Dynamic UV-LED reactor design applying small, low-power LED light sources to high flowrate UV water treatment eliminating mercury use for uninterrupted disinfection
Time stamp – 2:38

4. BlueTap (US)
Decentralized, easy-to-install and affordable self-powered chlorine doser to provide clean drinking water
Time stamp – 3:48

Food & Agriculture

Food & Agriculture

Featured innovators from Imagine H2O’s portfolio with applications in the food & agriculture sector:

1. PureActive Water (Singapore)
Patented electrolysis technology, ActivH2O, that provides chemical-free water, sanitation and disinfection solutions by generating a long-lasting natural oxidant
Time stamp – 0:22

2. EF Polymer (India)
Biodegradable polymer that retains and releases water slowly to maintain soil moisture throughout the crop cycle while doubling as a natural fertilizer
Time stamp – 1:32

3. SatSure (India)
Decision intelligence platform using satellite remote-sensing technology for irrigation monitoring, flood risk mapping and basin-level water management
Time stamp – 3:04

Technology Demonstration Examples

Heavy metal monitoring in Vietnam

Heavy metal monitoring in Vietnam

Sewage treatment plants struggle to treat wastewater effectively when they are unaware of highly toxic discharge entering their plants. Illegal or accidental industrial effluent discharge containing toxic chemicals (such as heavy metals, cyanide, pesticides) that enter sewer networks or water bodies (river, lake, reservoirs, etc.) directly constitute the leading cause of disturbance in wastewater treatment processes in Sewage Water Treatment Plants (STPs) and Effluent Water Treatment Plants (ETPs), and also pollute water bodies severely.

Treatment plants need real-time visibility into the quality of the water entering their plants. EnvironSens has developed the I2BioS (Integrated Intelligent Biosensor) for real-time and 24X7 monitoring of water toxicity in trade effluent, thereby safeguarding water treatment processes as well as water bodies. The I2BioS provides an end-to-end solution to clients by detecting toxic contaminants present in trade effluents using embedded algorithms, instant toxic sample collection by an innovative in-house autosampler, and online surveillance with transmitting of SMS alerts or online data dashboards.

Supported by Enterprise Singapore and Imagine H2O Asia, EnvironSens has partnered with Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO) to deploy two of their I2BioS units at a pumping station in Thu Duc Water Treatment Plant to monitor SAWACO’s raw water intake downstream of Dong Nai River to evaluate the system’s suitability for the river water’s conditions as well as other SAWACO operations.

Cohort

1

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

NRW reduction in Philippines

NRW reduction in Philippines

South and Southeast Asian utilities are struggling to tackle water leaks, under-registering meters, unauthorized consumption, and other drivers of non-revenue water—all of which contribute to losses as high as 50% in some cities in the region. With climate change and growing population demands further threatening water supply, utilities are faced with increased pressures to improve water coverage while operating under tighter budgets and financial constraints.

SmartTerra’s AI-powered analytics platform helps reduce utility losses and increase revenue with no additional capital investment required. Since joining Imagine H2O Asia, SmartTerra secured its first project outside of India with a Philippines utility. The utility struggled with a 45% NRW rate, and was facing challenges with renewing and digitalizing their network. The project’s first phase analyzed the operator’s 15,000 connections, and has identified key customer accounts for the utility to prioritize and address.

Cohort

UWC 2019, IH2O Asia 2020

Programs participated

Urban Water Challenge, Imagine H2O Asia

Arsenic testing in Pakistan

Arsenic testing in Pakistan

 

Communities in South Asia, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and parts of India are disproportionately vulnerable to and affected by arsenic contamination in groundwater. In many of these affected areas, there is a lack of visibility in the full scope of contamination. Existing arsenic testing solutions, however, face limitations that prevent large-scale testing of water – they are often manual and labor-intensive, take up to 20 minutes to reflect results, and are not connected to the web.

AquAffirm has developed a patented test-strip biosensor using a proprietary enzyme that allows for rapid, digital testing of arsenic. Results are reflected within 3 minutes, do not require the use of toxic chemicals, and importantly, is smartphone-linked and web-enabled. Results immediately get uploaded into their cloud platform and allow for real-time mapping and data analysis of arsenic-contaminated spots.

AquAffirm has tested and validated its solution in Bangladesh, testing 20+ wells with the support of the local university there. In 2022, they conducted a pilot in Pakistan through the support of WTAP, an innovation learning platform with the World Bank, testing 250+ wells across the Punjab province.

Cohort

2

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

Wastewater monitoring in India

Wastewater monitoring in India

In India, approximately 85% of wastewater goes untreated – contaminating lakes, rivers and coastlines. Existing wastewater treatment systems, however, are under-utilised when raw sewage get discharged into water bodies instead of treatment plants. In addition, cities lack updated information on their piping infrastructure that can inform where wastewater discharge gets directed to.

Fluid Robotics has developed FluidHealth, which comprises of multi-sensor, in-pipe robots that collect data for real-time pollution monitoring and automated wastewater sampling to help divert and treat wastewater, thereby reducing urban pollution. To date, 10+ cities in India have increased their treatment of wastewater by over 700 MLD and led to roughly $400,000 in savings for municipalities for every 1MLD intercepted, diverted and treated.

In addition, Fluid Robotics has also developed FluidAI, which is an AI-based software solution that automates wastewater pipeline inspections to improve the productivity of utilities, contractors and EPCs. It identifies, labels and tracks the severity of wastewater pipeline defects much faster than human operators, thereby reducing the defect labelling time.

 

Cohort

2

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

How do I engage?

ADB staff and DMC counterparts are invited to learn more about this new partnership and opportunities to engage with AID:

Join an upcoming informational session

Learn more about the partnership and Imagine H2O-vetted innovations by joining an AID learning session or e-Marketplace. Informational sessions have been scheduled for each ADB Regional Department in late October – early November 2022.

Join the AID ‘Champions Network’

Support the partnership’s design, development and outreach in your country or region as a member of the AID team (1 hour per month)

Share your problem statements

Complete a survey or schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with the AID team to identify innovation priorities relevant to your current or future projects

Connect with the AID team

If you have any questions about the program and would like to contact the AID team directly, please send us an email.

Send us an email here