State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


ImagineH2O’s 2010 Water Energy Nexus Prize Announced

SAN FRANCISCO, September 1, 2010 – They say you never miss the water until the well runs dry, but for those who live too far from the well and get it piped in, the clock is ticking even faster. Few of us are aware that a full 3% of the U.S.’s electric power generation is used for treating, pumping and distributing water. In California, where it’s as high as 19%, many residents save more energy by turning off the tap than by turning off the lights. Water alone has become a crisis-level issue but with cheap, abundant sources of power declining, what will happen if we don’t find ways to reduce how much energy that essential resource consumes?

Imagine H2O is turning that concern into an opportunity by opening a $100,000 global competition entitled The Water-Energy Nexus to find the world’s most promising water businesses that save energy. Innovations could focus on a number of areas including water heating/cooling, pumping and transport or low energy treatment. Entries will be accepted September 1 to November 15, 2010.

“Opportunities for saving energy exist at every stage of the water cycle,” says Scott Bryan, Director of Operations. “Many of these innovations could be attractive to all water users from utilities down to the individual consumer.”

“This prize highlights a big market opportunity for entrepreneurs,” says Tamin Pechet, Imagine H2O’s Chairman. “Tomorrow’s water supply system will have to be an energy-efficient one.”

Imagine H2O is holding workshops for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles (Aug. 18), Palo Alto (Sept. 15), Boston and Berkeley and international webcasts. These events will help guide water entrepreneurs and innovators toward customer needs, introduce them to industry contacts, and prepare them to participate in the Imagine H2O competition.

ImagineH2O’s 2010 Water Energy Nexus Prize is a global competition for water businesses that save energy.  Possible areas of innovation include energy efficient transport, treatment and use of water.

The competition features over $100,000 USD of cash and professional services from firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cooley LLP.  All entrants will receive feedback from a judging panel of experts, which includes some of the world’s leading venture capital, engineering, industrial, and water consulting firms in addition to major academic institutions. 10 finalists will be selected to enter the Imagine H2O Incubator where they will receive business mentoring, media coverage, beta customer and investor introductions, and expert insight.

The Imagine H2O ecosystem is high-value and growing quickly.
This competition is backed by the Royal Bank of Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cooley LLP and Wells Fargo.  In 2010, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California joins Imagine H2O as a competition partner.  Other program partners include East Bay Municipal Utility District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and campus partners like Babson, Berkeley BERC and Stanford.  The Australian Trade Commission and Ontario Canada Ministry of Economic Development & Trade and Cleantech LA have supported our 2010 water business workshops.

Participating in the prize offers access to a community that uniquely facilitates and enables the success of water businesses.

All prospective entrants should:

  • Join Imagine H2O’s online community to receive addition details about the competition and connect with other entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders
  • Compete in the prize
  • E-mail to express in the competition
  • Attend a workshop or webinar (see website for upcoming events)

Benefits of Participation – The Water Energy Nexus Competition features

  • More than the $100,000 USD of cash and professional services
  • Connections to investors, beta customers and industry experts
  • Expert feedback from our panel of judges to all entrants
  • Eligibility to enter Imagine H2O’s virtual incubator as a competition finalist
  • Media exposure

Competition Qualifications
*A complete explanation of competition terms and guidelines is available on our 2010 prize website

  • A for-profit entity that was formed or incorporated on or after January 1, 2007
  • A business that serves customers’ water or wastewater needs AND offers energy savings in moving, treating or using water as a primary selling point for its product or service. The business must demonstrate measurable energy savings as a direct result of the product or service
  • A business that has received less than $1.5 million in equity investment

International Entrants

  • The competition is open to entrants from around the world.  All proposal submissions and judging occurs on our online prize platform.  The competition finalist will enter a virtual incubator program that will provide value regardless of where the company is based.

Please contact or visit for more information.

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