In Boston, access to a continuous stream of clean water is a given, however, the reality is that’s not the case throughout the world or even throughout the U.S.  That being the case, in order to create awareness about water sustainability issues and to encourage innovations as we look to the future, The United Nations has declared the 2018-2028 time period as the Water Action Decade.

If you are curious about the Water Action Decade goals and are interested in getting involved with projects in your local community, also check out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN’s call to action.  Also, check out our blog featuring a short description of the SDGs, along with the Water Action Decade goals, which can be categorized into three broad groups:

  • Advance sustainable development
  • Energize implementation of existing programs and projects
  • Mobilize action to achieve the 2030 Agenda

Three Impact Hub Boston (IHB) based businesses have risen to this challenge by providing innovative services in clean water accessibility, water conservation, and water innovation. Learn more below about each company’s water-related services as they relate to the SDGs.

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BeCause Water

BeCause Water, founded by long-term Impact Hub Boston member Matt Thomas, helps schools improve access to clean drinking water by providing the necessary technology, expertise, and funding. Their current focus is solving the nation-wide lead crisis, which is estimated to impact 1 out of every 5 students in U.S. public schools.

BeCause Water addresses a number of Sustainable Development Goals through their services:

  • SDG 6 (access to clean water)

‘Water contamination in public water systems can lead to serious adverse health effects. Our organization, BeCause Water, collaborates with schools, programs, and advocates who want to help bring awareness and address the issue of contaminated drinking water in their communities. We connect communities with sustainable water filtration products at an affordable price, as well as provide feasible solutions to funding restrictions for schools and governmental institutions.’

  • SDG 3 (good health and well-being)

‘We believe that it is important for school students to have easy access to a healthy source of hydration throughout the day. Our nonprofit branch addresses the current obesity problem in the U.S. by providing education about the importance of choosing water over juice and soda. We also collaborate with educational institutions to assist in launching fundraising campaigns.’

  • SDG 12 (sustainable consumption) and SDG 14 (sustainable marine resources use):

‘Plastic production and consumption has caused devastating harm to the environment, from our cities to our oceans, and has a negative impact on both marine and human lives. We encourage the use of reusable water bottles at water bottle filling stations; thereby reducing single-use plastic bottle consumption.’

 

Voda Inc.voda black font

Voda, Inc. was founded by Impact Hubbers George Demosthenous and Jim Fitchett with the vision of enabling water utilities worldwide to affordably prevent leaks and conserve water.

Through an innovative ‘Artificial Intelligence Saves Water and Money’ model, Voda addresses:

  •  SDG 6 (availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all)

‘Drinking water is a scarce resource, yet much of it is lost on the way to customers. The World Bank estimates that many countries lose more than half their water due to pipe breaks. In the U.S. alone, there are 240,000 main breaks per year. Over 20% of treated water in the U.S. is lost due to pipe failures. That percentage is as high as 80% in developing countries, 50-60% in places like Turkey and Bulgaria.

Utilities worldwide face a common challenge in making pipe replacement decisions: wait until pipes burst or replace them based on instincts and pipe age (if known). Either approach results in lost water, missing the most fragile pipes or replacing healthy pipes. Utilities spend billions on pipe replacements and repairs, but sometimes on the wrong pipes.

We have a cost-effective solution to this problem. Using artificial intelligence, Voda provides software that identifies highly probable pipe failures before they occur. This helps utilities prioritize scarce capital resources, helping avoid water loss and lower operating costs.’

Voda’s vision is to enable water utilities worldwide to become proactive and make more informed decisions by offering the following benefits:

  1. Improved pipe replacement planning
  2. Minimization of pipe failures, especially those near high profile areas (e.g. hospitals, schools, transportation hubs)
  3. Justification for pipe replacement budgeting

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InvenTrust

InvenTrust is another Impact Hub-based company that is currently involved in water sustainability. InvenTrust is an online innovation community for innovators to accelerate knowledge transfer, technology transactions, and benefit from a global talent network and addresses the following sustainable development goals:

  • SDG 9 (fostering innovation)

‘InvenTrust enables members to democratize the discovery and conversion of ideas, intellectual property, and expert talent into solutions for a more productive world. InvenTrust is facilitating a series of innovation exchanges for these innovators to foster global innovation by combining networking, marketplace, and collaboration features for the scientific and invention communities. We also aim to provide access to technology research and discovery tools, match scientific talent with market need, offer user-generated and curated content that enhances intelligence and generates deals, and provide options for technology and trademark licensing and sale.’

  • SDG 17 (strengthening partnerships)

‘InvenTrust’s platform is for innovation enthusiasts – sponsors, investors, researchers, corporates, etc. – who are looking to partner with institutions for innovative solutions. Its mission is to enable members to connect, discover and transact by collaborating but are constrained by real, modern challenges such as geography distances, investments, talent and, most importantly, disruption from non-obvious sources. This could mean a ready-made of partners, waiting to help them derive value from all the innovation work they are involved in.’

  • SDG 6 (availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all)

InvenTrust has launched a Water Impact Challenge in partnership with UNFCCC, WIPO, and NEWIN.  The challenge calls for innovations that will alleviate the global water crisis by offering innovative solutions – technologies, business models, and apps for specific geographies or markets.  The two specific targets of the challenge are i) energy efficient water desalination and ii) leakage monitoring and management.

As one of its focus areas, InvenTrust puts businesses working on water technology on a faster track to innovation and growth at reduced risk and cost.  InvenTrust seeks to accelerate water technology innovation by supplying these capabilities to all members of the innovation ecosystem that were previously accessible only to large corporations. It allows its members to drive large value by accessing InvenTrust’s network of tech-scouts around the world for sourcing ideas, intelligence, intellectual property, talent, and operating assets. In essence, InvenTrust is democratising innovation.’