August 11, 2016
Santa Margarita Water Partners with Imagine H2O
Santa Margarita Water District staff will join a panel that reviews innovative water projects and initiatives for a San Francisco-based nonprofit with the mission to “inspire and empower people to solve water problems.”
The nonprofit, Imagine H20 (IH20), partners with industry and policy experts as well as a global network of customers and investors to guide products and programs to market. Since 2009, IH20’s accelerator has worked with more than 550 companies in 20 countries. Those working with IH20 have received more than $1 for every $10 of early-stage investment made in the water sector.
Imagine H20 holds annual “challenges” to discover new projects. The 2016 “Data Challenge” was IH20s seventh annual innovation program and attracted a global field of 90 startups in 20 countries. Ten were ultimately selected to participate in IH2O's business accelerator, benefitting from cash awards, mentorship, industry exposure and introductions to customers and investors. Under the agreement with IH20, approved by Santa Margarita directors on July 22, IH20 will listen to SMWD’s list of goals, needs and challenges, then suggest entrepreneurs with potential solutions. If SMWD wants to move forward, Imagine H20 will connect the two.
The partnership is free to SMWD, and will require just two hours of time annually, I2HO estimates. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is also a utility partner.
Among the companies in IH20’s portfolio is WaterSmart Software, a service used by several OC water agencies and across the country. With WaterSmart, customers receive information online or in their bill that shows their household water use compared to other customers with similarsized houses and families. It also splits water use between indoor and outdoor use. The information – portrayed in happy faces for those doing well and sad faces for those using more than their neighbors – helps customers understand and reduce their water use.
IH20 was brought to the district’s attention by SMWD Director Charles Gibson, who is also the Region 10 representative on the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA.)