Code for a Cause: Blockchain Hackathon launched to crowdsource solutions for clean water in Maharashtra, India

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mumbai, January 23, 2019 – The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), together with the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) and the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, launched a blockchain hackathon on January 18 to crowdsource solutions from coders all over the world to improve water resources management in the Indian State of Maharashtra.

“Policies and financing of water recycling and reuse should be an essential planning tool for regulating the water sector,” said Mr. Bakshi, Chairman of the MWRRA. “Launching a hackathon can encourage the use of blockchains and will be an important element.”

Software developers, students, technology companies, and startups with innovative ideas about water resources management are encouraged to register online at https://wrc-hackathon.org. The hackathon will end at 12:00 am (IST) on February 19, 2019. Until then, participating coders will be able to submit their blockchain algorithms for the Wastewater Reuse Certificates initiative, an innovative economic instrument concept that was jointly launched by 2030 WRG and MWRRA to support circular economy solutions in agriculture, industrial, and urban water use. Throughout the entire duration of the hackathon, participants will have access to mentoring and informative webinars to support their efforts.

Hackathon timeline is as per the schedule below:

18 January 2019 Registrations open
18 January 2019 -17 February 2019 Coding time
18 February 2019 12:00 AM Submission deadline
21 February 2019 Top 10 semi-finalists announced
25 February 2019 Semi-finalists present to jury in Mumbai (in-person or virtually) and top 3 winning teams announced
26 February 2019 First, second and third positions announced, and
awards distributed

On February 26, 2019, winning teams in the first, second, and third places will showcase their products and receive their awards at a summit that will be attended by thought leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society. In addition to receiving awards from a prize pool of Rs. 175,000, winners will also get mentorship and support from the hackathon co-sponsors, including the opportunity to scale and implement their applications.

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About the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG)

2030 WRG is a public, private, civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group. The partnership supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources. 2030 WRG supports the Maharashtra Multi-Stakeholder Partnership in Water and Livelihood Security for Rain-fed Agricultural Areas; Command Area Water Productivity (CAWP); and Wastewater Reuse and Management. See website: www.2030wrg.org.

About Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA)
The MWRRA is an independent statutory regulatory authority established by the Government of Maharashtra to reform the water sector in the State of Maharashtra. It is responsible for the regulation, allocation, management, and utilization of scarce water resources in Maharashtra. See website: www.mwrra.org.

About Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Bombay Chamber of Commerce, which was established in 1836, is one of the oldest Chambers of Commerce in India. In the last decades it has played a significant role in supporting the development of industries in Mumbai by serving as a vehicle of communication between regulatory bodies, the private sector, and civil society organizations. It also advocates for changes that can help their micro, small, and medium enterprise members achieve their business goals. See website: www.bombaychamber.com.

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Visit the Hackathon website wrc-hackathon.org
Join our conversations on Twitter 2030wrg #codeforacause #WRCHackahon @BombayChamber @2030wrg @Maharashtra

Contact:

For questions on submissions Karishma Kunder: karishma@blobcity.com
For questions on content Mahesh Patankar: mpatankar@worldbank.org
For media enquiries Alida Pham: apham4@worldbank.org

The Government of Mongolia grants prestigious award to 2030 WRG for its support for water security

Mongolia’s water challenge is somewhat unique. Looking only at national-level data about Mongolia’s water supply and demand, it is easy to conclude that Mongolia has enough water to support its population and industries. But such high-level data belie the concrete water challenges that are felt by its people and industries at the local level; Mongolia’s population and industries are clustered in the capital city and the Gobi mining region and both groups struggle to get the water they need.

To better manage Mongolia’s precious resources, the Parliament of Mongolia passed the Water Law of 2012, which serves as an umbrella law for integrated water resources. Together with other complementing laws, such as the Law on Water Pollution Fees (2012) and the Law on Use of Water Supply and Sewage System in Urban and Settlement Areas (2011), the Water Law provides the legal basis for charging consumers for the use of water, discharge of wastewater and collecting penalties for exploitation and violation of rules.

While the economic instruments, such as water service charges, water usage fees and wastewater charges, were introduced with the Water Law (2012), the existing design does not provide any incentives for either the sustainable use of water resources by industries or investing in new technologies to increase treat industrial wastewater.

When the Government of Mongolia approached 2030 WRG for its support, 2030 WRG took a different approach. Instead of addressing each problem separately, 2030 WRG adopted a macro perspective, and brought people who are being impacted by issues with those who can help bring change to sit at the same table. 2030 WRG’s Mongolia team designed an inclusive stakeholder process to develop a new water pollution tariff model that incorporates Polluter Pays principles to support fee collection that is linked to volume and load of wastewater discharge and is easy to implement. In addition, it is currently supporting a new urban water tariff structure to drive greater water use efficiency and wastewater treatment and reuse.

Mongolia 2030 WRG went beyond a narrow focus on existing bottlenecks in policy implementation and enforcement and looked for opportunities to crowd in the private sector at a large scale. In partnership with IFC, it brought Mongolia’s mining companies into the dialogue, as their operations represent a huge part of the country’s export revenues, and the mining industry has traditionally suffered tensions with communities around the sustainable use of water resources. 2030 WRG also supported reform in water governance by bringing all relevant actors at the river basin level to collectively discuss and decide water resources planning and implementation, thereby promoting transparency and dialogue to resolve contentious water issues.

Such a holistic and inclusive approach to water resources management has never been tried in Mongolia. To recognize 2030 WRG’s valuable contribution, the Mongolian government granted a high-level ministerial award to 2030 WRG on December 26, 2018.

This award not only marks an important milestone in 2030 WRG’s partnership with the Government of Mongolia, it also promises continued collaboration for wider impact on Mongolia’s water security going forward. “As public servants we have a responsibility to make sure our citizens and businesses have the water they need. But ensuring water security in Mongolia is a complex task that the government alone cannot complete,” said Mr. Tserenbat, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Cabinet member of Mongolia. “With 2030 WRG’s help, we have taken the first step to bring everyone together so that we can all see the bigger picture. The results so far have been promising, and we look forward to taking our collaboration to the next level.”