WaterHack18: Beer Made From Recycled Water Saving the World

WaterHack18: Beer Made From Recycled Water Saving the World

The water industry is facing multiple challenges as we progress through the century, with climate change, rapid population and economic growth, as well as changing customer expectations all impacting the way water is distributed and customers are engaged. To solve these challenges, water utilities are frequently turning to hackathons.

***By Robert C. Brears***

Hackathons are intensive marathon competitions involving a mix of brainstorming and programming that draws together talent and creativity to work on common projects, with organizers often offering incentives to winning teams, such as prizes.

Queensland Urban Utilities’ WaterHack18

Queensland Urban Utilities organized this month WaterHack18 — a hackathon that solely focused on the Australian water industry. The hackathon brought together developers, designers, scientists, and anyone with an idea for one weekend to hack water industry challenges, with more than $25,000 in prizes distributed to teams to turn winning ideas into reality.

The challenges that were addressed in the hackathon were as follows:

Technology and digital — Blockchain — $5,000 cash prize : Teams were asked to investigate how Blockchain technology could improve the operation of the water industry, what would this look like, and what efficiencies would Blockchain technology provide? Teams were asked to include in their solutions issues of data security, system transparency, process improvements (e.g. meters), interconnectivity, and transactional information (e.g. billing)

IoT, Smart Cities, and Engineering Challenge — $5,000 cash prize : This challenge focused on exploring cost-effective ways of installing and maintaining smart meters, with teams requested to explore whether existing smart city data sensors could be used to avoid the cost of installing and maintaining new data sources, whether collaborative opportunities exist with key city or commercial players, and whether other utility and smart city challenges can be solved by this solution

Community and sustainability challenge — $5,000 cash prize : With many Australians perceiving recycled water to be ‘unclean’, this challenge addressed how communities can be inspired to not just accept, but become advocates for recycled water

In addition to teams receiving prizes in their respective challenges, the team that came up with the best overall idea was awarded the major prize of $10,000.

WaterHack18: Beer with recycled water saving the world

The overall winner of WaterHack18 was Loop Brewing who pitched producing a craft beer that is made with recycled water to start the conversation about recycled water and how soon it could be considered normal. Their selling point is that recycled water is purer than potable water allowing for more control in addition of mineral that dictate taste, all the while helping the world save one drop at a time.

Beer Made from Recycled Water Saving the World

The take-out

Hackathons facilitate innovative solutions to pressing water challenges.

Robert C. Brears is the author of  Urban Water Security  (Wiley),  The Green Economy and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus  (Palgrave Macmillan), and  Natural Resource Management and the Circular Economy   (Palgrave Macmillan)   and of the forthcoming title   Blue and Green Cities   (Palgrave Macmillan). He is Founder of Our Future WaterMitidaption, and Mark and Focus.