The New Arizona Prize:
Water Innovation Challenge

Southwest Water Campus' mobile water treatment lab

The Water Innovation Challenge invited collaborative teams in Arizona communities to develop innovative and scalable market-based solutions. It was the second of The New Arizona Prize challenges.

The first challenge offered under The New Arizona Prize banner was the Water Consciousness Challenge. Heightened attention around water laid the important groundwork for what needed to happen next—the engagement of all Arizonans in safeguarding this precious resource.

The Water Innovation Challenge, the next challenge offered under The New Arizona Prize, was announced in March 2016. Twenty-three teams submitted projects with plans to advance a sustainable water future for a town or city, county, tribal area, or an entire region. The submissions were reviewed by the Water Innovation Challenge Selection Committee, an 18-member team of judges whose scoring identified the top five teams.

The Pure Water Brew Challenge

The $250,000 prize was awarded to Pima County's Southwest Water Campus, whose Pure Water Brew Challenge partnered with local brewers across the state to launch a discussion about potable water reuse to help change public perception about water quality. The team also received up to $50,000 in additional technical assistance through a partnership with WaterNow Alliance.

The winning team from the Southwest Water Campus includes members from the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, Tucson Water, Marana Water, Carollo Engineers, CH2M, University of Arizona, aquaTECTURE, and Clean Water Services. The solution included an effluent-to-potable reuse technology, statewide mobile public engagement campaign, and local craft beer competition. This team also won the $2,500 Audience Choice award.

In an editorial published in October, The Arizona Republic provided details about the solution proposed by the Southwest Water Campus in the context of Arizona's long history as a water policy leader. Read more about how beer plays into the story.

Pima County's Southwest Water Campus has demonstrated exactly what all the partners hoped for with this challenge. Their collaborative, innovative plans hold great promise for the future of water in Pima County and statewide. We are pleased to be able to provide this catalytic funding, visibility and technical assistance to help make their vision of water sustainability a reality.

- Steven G. Seleznow

President and CEO, Arizona Community Foundation

Prize Ceremony

A video of the event—accessible by clicking below—was produced by Rhumbline Media, a media company founded by Cody Sheehy. In 2015, Cody and the Beyond the Mirage team received the Water Consciousness Challenge prize, the first challenge presented under The New Arizona Prize banner. Rhumbline Media describes itself as "dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change using smart technology."