Ten extraordinary water-focused entrepreneurs have developed innovations that will help conserve and restore the world’s global freshwater ecosystems.

Today, around one-third of the global population is already subject to water stress and, by 2030, the global demand for water will exceed sustainable supply by 40%, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Climate change and expanding populations are causing rivers and lakes to dry up.

The featured innovators who are addressing this crisis are:

1. bNovate Technologies (Switzerland) – An automatic, remote biosensor to monitor and detect bacterial concentration in water supplies

2. INDRA (India) – An electrically driven, decentralized wastewater treatment solution with no added chemicals in its primary treatment

3. Majik Water (Kenya) – An atmospheric water generator system that uses proven condensation-based techniques to capture water moisture from the air

4. NatureDots AquaNurch (India) – An AI-powered system that detects climate-induced and ecological-driven risks to water bodies and aquatic life, enabling remote-control and real-time monitoring of aquafarms

5. Oneka (Canada) – A wave-powered desalination solution to produce drinking water using renewable energy created through waves

6. Openversum (Switzerland) – A locally assembled and managed membrane filter that removes pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals and micropollutants from water

7. RainGrid (Canada) – Community-scale, property-based, digital networks for net-zero residential property rainfall runoff that protect homes, communities and cities from the impacts of climate change

8. Wateroam (Singapore) – The production of safe, speedy and high-quality drinking water without electricity

9. Epic Cleantec (United States) – Onsite water reuse systems for real estate developers and property owners to conserve water and reuse resources

10. Kilimo (Argentina) – A product to help farmers reduce water usage and improve irrigation practices

These innovators have all been recognized by the World Economic Forum through UpLink, its open innovation platform that aims “to nurture a world where anyone, anywhere, with a high-impact solution for global issues is empowered to scale their action.” They are the winners of the Global Freshwater Challenge, the first of five innovation challenges on global freshwater, which sought “innovative solutions that conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems.” This particular challenge called for “innovative solutions that would strengthen data-driven decision-making, improve freshwater resilience in the face of climate change and restore water quality around the world. It is part of a five-year $15 million investment to drive innovation in the freshwater sector.”

Through this initiative funded by Indian multinational information technology services and consulting company HCL, the winners each received CHF 175,000 ($195,000) to develop their innovations. 

Anyone, anywhere, who is a water-focused entrepreneur – an Aquapreneur – with a solution that conserves and restores freshwater ecosystems and makes them healthier and more resilient can join the five-year Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative. Look out for the forthcoming Aquapreneur UpLink Challenges and help accelerate the innovation agenda for water. 

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