An innovative approach to tackling water scarcity by Australia with Indian major Tata Group

Canberra, January 29: The Australian Government is partnering with Indian major Tata Group and US-based XPRIZE and to run the ‘Water Abundance Prize’ – an open challenge to use technology to improve affordable access to clean water.

The open challenge is to showcase use of technology in improving access to clean water in high humidity areas; where water is currently unavailable or inaccessible.

Innovators will use energy-efficient technology to harvest water from air.

An official statement here said that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop encouraged innovators in the US and internationally to take on the “Water Abundance Challenge” during a visit to XPRIZE Headquarters in Los Angeles, where she met with Robert Weiss, President and Vice Chair.

Only one percent of the earth’s water resources can be used for human consumption. This water mass is unevenly distributed through the ground and surface of the earth, which can lead to the spread of disease, conflict over resources, irregular migration and slowed economic development.

Water scarcity is a particularly acute problem in our Indo-Pacific region.

South Asia fares the worst, with rivers under immense strain and a lack of access to safe piped water and decent sanitation.

Thus, there remains a high vulnerability to severe natural disasters and hazards in the region. Water security is a major concern in these areas.

Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, which is also aiding the Water Abundance prize has earlier urged stronger ties between Australia and India.

“There are major opportunities for growth in the trade and business relationships between Australia and India”, he told an audience at UNSW after receiving an honorary Doctor of Business in 2012.

The top prize of 2 million Australian dollars will be given to the creator of the most innovative and effective device which uses energy-efficient technology to harvest water from air, producing a minimum of 2,000 litres of water per day from the atmosphere; using 100 per cent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than 2 cents per litre.

Five more prizes worth $67,000 (AUS) will be awarded to the other finalists.

The Prize is open to innovators from Australia and around the world. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs and creative thinkers with new ideas are invited to register to compete.

Teams have until 31 March 2017 to register, seven months for initial solution development and twelve months to complete rounds of testing before judging by an expert panel.

More details and registration on

XPRIZE is a non-profit organisation specialising in encouraging technological advances to meet global development needs.

Nidhi Mehta

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