Water Innovation Competition Aimed at Monitoring Harmful Nutrients in Lake Erie


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Sue Valerian



Water Innovation Competition Aimed at Monitoring Harmful Nutrients in Lake Erie

Winners of “Internet of H20” challenge will receive $50,000 cash

CLEVELAND, Ohio (October 18, 2017)The Cleveland Water Alliance, in partnership with Digital C and US Ignite, will select winners in the Internet of H20 water innovation competition on Friday, Oct 27 at the Catawba Island Club in Port Clinton. This competition challenges three communities to come together to solve for real-world issues and establish a Smart Lake strategy that requires the integration of sensors, advanced networking and insights generated from data science. Five teams, made up of individuals and companies from around the country, will present their ideas to a panel of judges from 9 a.m. until Noon. Winners will be announced after the presentations and receive $50,000 in cash prizes and additional support services. The goal is to generate robust and resilient nutrient monitoring pilot programs that have the potential to expand across the Great Lakes and help establish Lake Erie as the first Smart Lake. Farming practices and severe weather can increase the amount of fertilizer-derived nutrients in the water, which diminishes water quality and threatens the lake's ecosystem and the public's health.“We’re excited and proud to co-host this second water innovation competition to further support talented innovators and thinkers to create high-tech solutions to our freshwater challenges,’’ CWA executive director Bryan Stubbs said. Earlier this year, CWA, in collaboration with several partners, including Digital C, hosted Erie Hack, a tech-driven international water innovation competition and accelerator program that culminated in a two-day summit in May at the Global Center for Health Innovation in downtown Cleveland. The competition brought together coders, developers, engineers, data experts, and water professionals to generate creative solutions to Lake Erie’s biggest challenges. Several winners shared more than $100,000 in prizes, including cash and entrepreneurial acceleration services.An esteemed panel of judges will select the winners of the Internet of H20 competition:

  • Dr. Christopher Winslow, Director, Ohio Sea Grant and OSU Stone Lab

  • David Rankin, Vice President of Programs, Great Lakes Protection Fund

  • Adriana Felix-Salgado, Innovation Engineer, US EPA

  • Kelli Paige, Executive Director, Great Lakes Observing System

  • Manisha Ajgaonkar, Smart+Connected Communities, Cisco Systems, Inc.

  • Steve Cole, CIO, Great Lakes Commission

  • Michael Sullivan, Global Cognitive Solutions Leader for Water and Environmental Management, IBM

Competing teams include PhD. engineering candidates from the University of Buffalo and Wayne State university and tech companies including Microsoft and Resonance Group of Toledo. One team includes the first and second-place winners from Erie Hack.

“We are pleased with the results,’’ said Digital C CEO and co-founder Lev Gonick of the tech presentations expected on Friday. For more information on the teams, judges and competition, please visit: www.internetofh20.io

On Thursday, prior to the competition, Stubbs and Gonick will host a group of political, community and business leaders, including representatives for U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, to discuss the urgent needs and future solutions for the challenges facing Lake Erie.

The media is invited to attend the team presentations on Friday. Please RSVP to Max Herzog at mherzog@cwa.org

About Digital C: Founded in Cleveland, we are a civic tech collaboration that catalyzes innovative technology for community impact. Led by a diverse team with experience in technology, start ups, strategy, business and civic tech, we partner with business, technology and civic leaders to provide strategies and programs so that communities can navigate a pathway that enables 21st century opportunities for all.About the Cleveland Water Alliance: Established in 2014, CWA is a non-profit organization that seeks to better utilize the economic and job-creating potential of Lake Erie while also urging greater care of this valuable, natural asset. We are among the region’s leaders working to bring together Northeast Ohio’s water providers, business and political leaders, researchers and environmental organizations to establish Cleveland as a nationally recognized center for water innovation.

NewsMeg Lalley