Ainwater and Cuencas Sustentables Win IDB Lab’s Water Challenge

The AquaCerta Challenge, aimed at fortifying water systems and fostering innovation in the Latin America and Caribbean region, has successfully concluded its latest round, with 31 proposals received through IDB Lab.

The two winning proposals stood out for their innovations in improving energy efficiency, reducing water losses, and integrating advanced digital technologies for water management:

  1. Ainwater, from Chile, employs artificial intelligence to optimize the efficiency of water treatment plants, particularly focusing on rural sanitation services. Their approach utilizes digital twins technology to monitor and enhance the operation of these plants in Chile.
  2. Cuencas Sustentables, from Bolivia, in collaboration with Fundación Natura Bolivia, is pioneering a new model of reciprocal water agreements. This model addresses water management holistically, blending forest conservation with water access infrastructure development, with an emphasis on financial sustainability and capacity building in rural communities in Bolivia.

Each winning project stands to receive funding ranging from $250,000 to $400,000, enabling them to implement their solutions in one of the IDB’s 14 target countries. Moreover, the winners will join IDB Lab’s network of global innovators, facilitating knowledge exchange, experiences sharing, and best practices dissemination among sector leaders.

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About the Challenge

In a concerted effort to drive forward innovative solutions in the water and sanitation sector, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, through its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, in collaboration with the IDB Water and Sanitation Division, and in partnership with members of the Source of Innovation alliance, has named two winners of the AquaCerta Challenge. This initiative, centered on ensuring access to safe drinking water and bolstering the resilience of water systems, attracted proposals aimed at transforming the water landscape in the region.

The challenge sought to reinforce the availability of innovative solutions and products within the private sector, encompassing startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and social enterprises such as B corporations. The objective was to identify and support proposals addressing critical challenges including energy efficiency, non-revenue water management, water quality, water utility systems management, and the sustainability and environmental resilience of these services.

Targeted at promoting more equitable and sustainable development, the call was directed at private sector entities across 14 countries in the region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

Second Call for Proposals to the AquaCerta Challenge

Reaffirming the Source of Innovation’s commitment to strengthening the private sector’s contribution in the sector, IDB Lab, in collaboration with the IDB Water and Sanitation Division, has announced a new edition of the AquaCerta Challenge. This time, the opportunity is extended to projects to be implemented in any of the 26 IDB borrowing member countries.

Key Details:

  • Dates: The call will be open from March 22nd to May 31st, 2024.
  • Funding: Selected projects will receive funding ranging from $300,000 to $500,000.
  • Participants: Startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and social businesses (e.g., B corporations) with specific projects.

For further details and project submissions, interested parties are encouraged to visit the official AquaCerta Challenge website.


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