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PILOT FUNDING

Imagine H2O designs, funds, and manages pilots to make water innovation more accessible in underserved markets globally.

Read our press release here

Imagine H2O unlocks catalytic capital and technical support for pilot projects to help communities test and adopt innovation

Communities globally struggle to access emerging technologies that can accelerate progress towards SDG 6 – universal access to water and sanitation.

Imagine H2O’s pilot funding initiatives create new opportunities for end-users to test and de-risk solutions which can help increase water supply, mitigate pollution and strengthen climate resilience.

SUPPORTERS

Imagine H2O’s pilot funding initiatives are supported by various public sector and philanthropic partners

Barriers to Innovation

Municipal and industrial end-users 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 globally include:

Informational
  • Where do I look for innovations?
  • How do I vet or benchmark against conventional solutions?
Risk Aversion
  • How do I design pilots in a way that can help mitigate risk?
  • How do I ensure organization-wide buy-in?
Localization
  • How can I ensure the solution is adapted to local conditions?
  • Does the proposed business model support scalability?
Financial
  • How can I mobilize financial support for a pilot to overcome budget constraints?
  • How do I shorten lengthy approval processes?

Fund Feature

Sustainable Access Solution Fund

A global partnership supporting projects that enable access to safe drinking water as well as empower communities, utilities and other groups to sustain or restore threatened water supplies. Up to eight (8) solutions will receive funding in 2023.

Key activities include:

  1. Sourcing: Identify and vet solutions from IH2O startup portfolio
  2. Pilot Support: Design and co-fund pilots with end-users
  3. Acceleration: Provide mentorship and advisory to support implementation
  4. Impact: Showcase results for peer learning and scale pilot for commercial adoption
By partnering with Imagine H2O, we want to not only showcase what is possible for water innovation. We also want to tackle the underlying obstacles preventing the faster uptake and scaling of these promising solutions.
Saadia Madsbjerg President of The Coca-Cola Foundation

Learn about the first series of pilots awarded by the Sustainable Access Solution Fund here

Building on the 5-year track record of the Urban Water Challenge

Imagine H2O’s early work in piloting innovative solutions for water-scarce cities has helped grow new initiatives targeting emerging markets. All programs provide co-funding awards, technical assistance through project design and implementation support, as well as networking and marketing opportunities throughout the project cycle.

Asian Development Bank

Accelerating Innovation & Digitalization (AID)

AID is a knowledge and capacity building program for ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs) and ADB staff to engage, localize and adopt new solutions for a water-secure region.

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World Bank

Water Technology Access Partnership (WTAP)

WTAP is a platform for World Bank staff, projects, and client utilities to access and localize solutions, explore pilot projects as well as share findings to inspire replication and adoption globally.

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Oceankind, 11th Hour Racing

Urban Water Challenge (UWC)

The Urban Water Challenge is a global competition for water entrepreneurs who are ready to pilot and scale their solutions in coastal cities.

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Since 2018, Imagine H2O has built a track record in pilot support by providing dedicated funding and insight to entrepreneurs

 

Learn more about our impact
78
Projects Supported
22
Countries
$2.1M
Pilot Funding Deployed
7x
Additional Investment Raised

PILOT EXAMPLES

Water quality monitoring in the Philippines

Water quality monitoring in the Philippines


Location
The Philippines

Customer
2 Utilities (Urban and Peri-Urban Setting)

Pilot Funding Initiative
Sustainable Access Solution Fund

Problem:
• Low-pressure, remote water distribution networks make it difficult for utilities to measure and monitor water quality in real-time and 24/7
• Reliance on slow, manual lab testing methods result in delayed action when contamination events occur

Startup Solution:
• Portable, battery-powered sensors that conduct water quality analysis and real-time cloud-based data monitoring for pipelines and water sources 

Project Description:
• Install 4 TracWater units with 2 utilities over 6 months for continuous, real-time water quality monitoring
• Conduct in-person training sessions to strengthen local expertise in water management and systems maintenance 

Project Status:
• In progress (as of November 2023)
• Site feasibility assessments in the Philippines completed with support from IH2O Asia advisors 

Cohort

3

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

Village-level water management in India

Village-level water management in India


Location
Maharashtra, India

Customer
Kaddora Gram Panchayat

Pilot Funding Initiative
Sustainable Access Solution Fund

Problem:
• Decreasing groundwater availability and changing weather conditions due to climate change make it difficult for villages to effectively manage water resources 
• Lack of localized, cost-effective tools that monitor and forecast water demand and supply in the long-term

Startup Solution:
• Digital water governance tool that delivers data-driven water management insights generated from primary data analysis and risk assessments

Project Description:
• Collect and analyze primary data on water availability and demand across domestic, industrial and agricultural uses
• Design water security plans for village leaders to implement long-term demand and supply interventions in groundwater and surface water use

Project Status: 
• In progress (as of September 2023)

Cohort

4

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

Utility operational efficiency in the Philippines

Utility operational efficiency in the Philippines



Location
Central Luzon, the Philippines

Customer
Balibago Waterworks

Pilot Funding Initiative
Sustainable Access Solution Fund

Problem:
• Utility operators face daily pressures to execute promptly to incidents across the water distribution network
• Knowledge gaps due to shrinking workforce or limited staff resources lower operational efficiency

Startup Solution:
• AI-powered chatbot assistant that provides staff with real-time insights by integrating historical data with new findings and addressing knowledge blindspots

Project Description:
• Deploy Lily, TeamSolve’s chatbot assistant, for corrective and preventative asset maintenance as well as leak investigation support
• Improve data maturity of the utility through documentation and analysis of historical asset management data

Project Status:
• In progress (as of December 2023)
• Field trip in the Philippines completed with support from IH2O Asia advisors

Cohort

4

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

Drinking water access in informal settlements in Bangladesh

Drinking water access in informal settlements in Bangladesh


Location
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Implementing Partners
Dhaka WASA, DSK and other NGOs/CBOs

Pilot Funding Initiative
Sustainable Access Solution Fund

Problem:
• Nearly 200,000 people in Dhaka’s largest informal settlement, Korail, lack piped access to safe drinking water and rely on costly bottled water
• Land ownership challenges prevent the utility from entering, while existing piped water schemes in Korail are limited to non-potable water

Startup Solution:
• Decentralized water ATM system using ion exchange resin technology that removes heavy metals from groundwater

Project Description:
• Evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of installing mini-piped networks from Drinkwell’s water ATM given local geographic conditions and infrastructural needs
• Design a preliminary implementation plan to deploy mini-piped water networks serving 600 households based on results from the feasibility study

Project Status:
• In progress (as of December 2023)

Cohort

UWC ‘2018

Programs participated

Urban Water Challenge

Arsenic testing in Pakistan

Arsenic testing in Pakistan

Location
Punjab Province, Pakistan

Customer
Pakistan Council of Research for Water Resources (PCRWR)

Pilot Funding Initiative
World Bank WTAP

Problem:

  • Up to 60 million people in eastern Pakistan are affected by arsenic groundwater contamination 
  • Current colorimetric testing is time-consuming, prone to user error and lacks web-connectivity

Startup Solution:

  • Enzyme-based, test-strip biosensor that can test for arsenic in under 3 min without use of chemicals
  • Digital platform enables real-time mapping and analysis via a cloud-based dashboard

Project Description:

  • Test 250+ wells for arsenic levels across 13 sub-divisions in Punjab Province 
  • Results to be validated against PCRWR’s laboratory tests using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry

Project Status/Outcomes: 

  • Pilot complete, with ongoing discussions for expanded pilot in Pakistan 
  • Additional pilot now underway in Bangladesh 

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Annamarie Martin (annamarie@imagineh2o.org)

Cohort

2

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

Decentralized wastewater treatment in California

Decentralized wastewater treatment in California

Location
San Francisco, California, USA

Customer
Related Companies

Pilot Funding Initiative
Urban Water Challenge

Problem:

  • Rapidly urbanizing cities are being pushed to treat and reuse wastewater to reduce freshwater consumption 
  • Existing wastewater treatment facilities, however, are aging and often centralized, preventing localized water reuse

Startup Solution:

  • On-site treatment system that converts wastewater into soil amendments and purified water for non-potable reuse

Project Description:

  • Install 7,500 GPD graywater system in Related’s 39-story Fifteen Fifty building
  • Decrease building water demand by 90% and reduce wastewater treatment load on municipal utilities

Project Status/Outcomes: 

  • System fully installed and operational, reuses 2M gallons of water annually
  • First onsite system in the city that complied with 2016 law requiring new large buildings to have water reuse systems
  • Secured three additional projects by leveraging pilot project results

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Taylor Evans (taylor@imagineh2o.org)

Programs participated

Accelerator 2020, Urban Water Challenge III

Heavy metal monitoring in Vietnam

Heavy metal monitoring in Vietnam

Location
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Customer
Saigon Water Corporation (SAWACO)

Pilot Funding Initiative
Enterprise Singapore Deployment Awards

Problem:

  • Toxic chemicals entering Dong Nai river from agricultural areas disrupt downstream water treatment processes 
  • Manual sampling and lab testing methods are costly, inaccurate and lead to delays in response time

Startup Solution:

  • Integrated Intelligent BioSensor (I2BioS) provides real-time, 24×7 water toxicity monitoring 
  • AI-enabled dashboard and pre-warning system sends automatic, event-based alerts to operators

Project Description:

  • Install two (2) I2BiOS units at Thu Duc Water Treatment Plant to monitor raw water intake from Dong Nai River
  • Evaluate the suitability of I2BioS for the river water’s conditions and other SAWACO operations

Project Status/Outcomes: 

  • Multiple contamination incidents detected with samples validated against lab tests, enabling SAWACO to understand source of contamination
  • Interest in commercial PO for two (2) units for permanent installation in Vietnam
  • Ongoing discussions with other Vietnam utility for similar use-case after project showcase at Vietnam Water Week 2023

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Annamarie Martin (annamarie@imagineh2o.org)

Cohort

1

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia

NRW reduction in Philippines

NRW reduction in Philippines

Location
Tarlac, the Philippines

Customer
Pura Waterworks and Anao Waterworks

Pilot Funding Initiative
World Bank WTAP

Problem:

  • Small, public utilities in the Philippines struggle with asset management and leak detection 
  • Existing NRW solutions rely on costly hardware installation and cater to larger utilities

Startup Solution:

  • AI-powered analytics platform that models a utility’s network to reduce water loss and improve revenue 
  • Applicable to utilities of different sizes and data availability, using already-collected data

Pilot Description: 

  • Digitize existing paper-based records and deploy MeterCity and NetCity software to reduce NRW
  • Provide training workshops for utility staff to conduct field verification of results

Pilot Status/Outcomes:

  • Est. yearly cost savings if MeterCity and NetCity were deployed for Pura and Anao at 5k USD and 3k USD respectively
  • Pilot results led to design of multi-city NRW project in Indonesia for PDAMs

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Annamarie Martin (annamarie@imagineh2o.org)

Cohort

UWC 2019, IH2O Asia 2020

Programs participated

Urban Water Challenge, Imagine H2O Asia

Field Factors Deployment 2
Rainwater harvesting in the Netherlands

Rainwater harvesting in the Netherlands

Field Factors Deployment 2

Location
The Hague, Netherlands

Customer
Not publicly disclosed

Pilot Funding Initiative
Urban Water Challenge

Problem:

  • Cities are struggling to cope with increased flooding events coupled with persistent water shortages
  • Regulators are pushing developers to implement adaptation measures and retrofitting projects to improve climate resilience

Startup Solution:

  • Compact, circular system called BlueBloqs that captures 95% of rainwater for treatment, storage and reuse in urban areas

Project Description:

  • Launched their H2Q dashboard to complement existing BlueBloqs systems for improved operations, monitoring and maintenance
  • Demonstrate the remote monitoring capabilities for customers with other circular water systems across the Hague

Project Status/Outcomes: 

  • Provided customers with clear system performance metrics, resulting in several H2Q commercial contracts
  • Jumpstarted international expansion to new markets in Europe and Latin America due to new remote capabilities

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Taylor Evans (taylor@imagineh2o.org)

Field Factors Deployment 2

Programs participated

Urban Water Challenge III

Wastewater monitoring in India

Wastewater monitoring in India

Location
Pune, India

Customer
Pune Municipal Corporation

Pilot Funding Initiative
Urban Water Challenge

Problem:

  • Approximately 85% of wastewater in India goes untreated, contaminating lakes, rivers and coastlines
  • Lack of information on piping infrastructure hinders wastewater diversion efforts into under-utilized treatment plants

Startup Solution:

  • Multi-sensor, in-pipe robot that collects pipeline data for pollution monitoring and automated wastewater sampling

Project Description:

  • Analyze all major and minor discharge locations into the Mula-Mutha river using FluidHealth robot
  • Monitor discharge flow and quality to identify priority sites for diversion or interception

Project Status/Outcomes: 

  • Surveyed and located 50+ major discharge points along the Mula-Mutha River
  • Unlocked government funding to monitor an additional 40+ discharge locations, including COVID-19 surveillance
  • Secured MOU to monitor wastewater discharge at the river source in collaboration with government research teams

Interesting in learning more about this project? Contact Taylor Evans (taylor@imagineh2o.org)

Programs participated

Imagine H2O Asia Cohort 2, Urban Water Challenge III

Engage With Us

For water entrepreneurs

Apply to one of our innovation programs to receive fast-track access to pilot funding opportunities

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For end-users

Join our Tech Adopters network to collaborate on IH2O co-funded pilots

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For funders

Support the scale-up of our pilot funding initiatives in 2023

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