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Ashirvad Water Challenge 2023 winners announced, Two startups SmartTerra and Solinas Integrity Awarded

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Bhubaneswar, 20th September, 2023 – The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and Ashirvad by Aliaxis, in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, announced SmartTerra and Solinas Integrity as the winners of the Ashirvad Water Challenge (AWC) on September 18, 2023. The start-ups were awarded INR 1 crore and 75 lakhs respectively after being shortlisted from among 140+ applicants through a rigorous selection process involving expert evaluations and field assessments. The competition, which began in February 2022, aimed to address the critical issue of Clean Drinking Water for All.

‘The/Nudge Prize: Ashirvad Water Challenge’ supported by Ashirvad, an Aliaxis company, aims to find innovative, scalable and impactful technology-driven solutions to India’s water crisis, and widen clean drinking water access to improve health and hygiene across urban and rural communities.

SmartTerra’s AI-powered data analytics platform helps water utilities find leaky pipes and suspect/faulty water meters to reduce water loss, while Solinas Integrity’s “Endobot” robotic solution secures pipeline infrastructure by detecting leaks and contaminations.

The winners were selected by a jury on the basis of their solution’s impact, economic feasibility, sustainability, scalability and its ability to address water purification, storage, distribution, recycling, and accessibility.

Line De Decker, Aliaxis’ Chief People and Sustainability Officer commented, “Sustainable water management is at the heart of what we do at Aliaxis. It is our collective responsibility to preserve water and ensure access to clean water for everyone. The/Nudge Ashirvad Water Challenge gives a much-needed boost to affordable and cutting-edge technology that solves real problems, like our winners have done in finding solutions to water loss and water contamination. We are so pleased with the impact that this prize has had and we congratulate each of the finalists for the change they have participated in. The potential of all the finalists has been so impressive to see and I am so proud to announce that we are committed to a second edition of this challenge.”

Bangalore based SmartTerra, launched in 2020 by Gokul Krishna, (co-founder, CEO), Giridharan Sengaiah (Co-founder, COO) and Navaneethan Santhanam (co-founder, Chief Scientist), has developed an AI-powered data analytics platform to monitor leakage, bursts, low pressure and other issues in urban waterways/ water networks and suspect meters. During the pilot phase of the challenge, they identified 11 invisible leaks and exhibited 77% accuracy in localizing losses. Their platform is already operational in Coimbatore, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, the Philippines, and Cambodia, serving corporations, municipalities, and large and single cities.

Solinas Integrity, based out of Chennai was founded in 2018, by Divanshu Kumar (Founder & CEO), Bhavesh Narayani (Co-founder & Director), Moinak Banerjee (Co-founder), has created a robotic solution called “Endobot” to detect leaks and contamination in pipelines. This solution addresses water wastage and contamination in pipeline distribution, a problem that affects over 70% of treated water in India. During the pilot phase of the challenge, they identified over 40 contamination points that helped in saving 600,000 liters of water per day. Their platform is already operational in Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Coimbatore, Ulhas Nagar, Jamshedpur, Nagpur, Trichy, Bangalore, Cochin, Hubbali, Kalaburghi and Trivandrum, serving both government and business customers.

Moving forward, both the winners and the runners-up aim to expand their operations and further develop their solutions. SmartTerra intends to finalize partnerships with other players actively working on water schemes and public projects, while Solinas Integrity will deploy a new version of their SWASTH software solution with additional MIS, Inspection Management, Laser Profile Analysis, and Swasth AI on their own cloud platform.

“From Challenge to Change – the journey of this leg of the AWC would have been incomplete without the support and guidance of our advisors, ecosystem partners and the indomitable spirit of the contestants! The 7 finalists have each unlocked innovations and disruptive value within the water value chain – from developing more efficient, secure, reliable waterways to delivering source sustainability. From creating economic value from wastewater to making consumption measurable to ensuring safe water! I am confident that these solutions will enable India to move forward in delivering clean water for all – technology has been a key lever, but their passion to deliver impact and value is what assured me of their success in this endeavor!”, shared Kanishka Chatterjee, Director of The/Nudge Prize.

For the final selection, Ecociate Consultants led an independent evaluation by a team of water & commercial experts. They conducted field evaluations, and in-depth interviews to gauge the impact, scalability, replicability, economic feasibility, social outcomes, environmental sustainability, and organizational readiness of the solutions.

The grand jury that selected the final winners was comprised of experts in the water/social value sectors including Akosua Boakye-Ansah (Lecturer/Researcher in Water Services Governance, IHE Delft), VK Madhavan (Chief Executive, WaterAid India), Sunderrajan Krishnan (Executive Director, INREM Foundation), Sai Pramodh (AVP – Investments | SME, Caspian Impact Investments), Vishwanath S (Zenrainman) (Trustee, Biome Environmental Trust) and Yogendra Kumar Singh (Director, Department of Drinking water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India).

Ecosystem partners who supported the participants through the challenge included Jal Jeevan Mission, Caspian, INREM Foundation, Indus Water Institute, WaterAid, IHE Delft and others.

The grand finale of The/Nudge Prize: Ashirvad Water Challenge was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on September 18, 2023 and was attended by several key dignitaries from the water sector. This event also marked the announcement for the launch of the second edition of the Ashirvad Water Challenge which is expected to open for applications in November 2023. This challenge is one of the largest to be seen in India, to address innovation & scale for developing sustainable livelihoods at the intersection of Water and Livelihoods.


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