Innovation

Water Technology Innovation

"Technology innovation can accelerate progress toward our goals of clean and safe water. EPA and many stakeholders will strive to support technology innovation to solve water resource problems … cheaper, faster and using less energy!"
Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Water

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EPA recognizes the importance of technology innovation to improving and protecting water resources, and continues to evaluate how best to foster technology innovation. Technology innovation is defined as the development and deployment of new technologies and processes: new applications of existing technology; production change; and organizational, management and cultural changes that can improve the condition and sustainability of our water resources.

Water Technology Blueprint
Our freshwater resources are limited and face mounting pressures from drought, flooding, pollution, population growth, an aging water infrastructure and competition for many uses (e.g. ecosystem protection, drinking water, agriculture, energy production, recreation). Technology innovation can help address our water challenges and help put us on a more sustainable path while also supporting economic growth. EPA aims to be a catalyst to promote and support technology innovation to restore, protect and ensure the sustainability of our water resources. 

The Business Case for Technology Innovation for Water
Clean and safe water is essential for public health and healthy ecosystems, for the nation’s economic well-being, and for the welfare of our families and communities. Many aspects of the U.S. economy depend on large supplies of water. Hundreds of billions of gallons of water are needed each day to sustain our industry, agriculture, homes and businesses. Further, billions of dollars are spent each year on water-related recreation activities as well as for use of water in production operations. In 2012 total revenue for the domestic U.S. water and wastewater industry was $139 billion. The value of the global water market—for the control and cleanup of water—is estimated at $500 billion per year.

Market Opportunities for Technology Innovation
Our water resource and sustainability issues represent market opportunities for technology and institutional innovation and to promote economic growth. Descrip­tions of the most pressing needs and promising opportu­nities are outlined on page 4 of the Water Technology Innovation Blueprint - Version 2.

Potential Funding Opportunities to Support Technology Innovation
There are a number of potential funding and other resources available to assist in the research and development of innovative solutions to water-resource-oriented issues and challenges. Examples can be found on page 13 of the Water Technology Innovation Blueprint - Version 2.

Tools to Assess Water Supply Risk and Vulnerability
A variety of tools has been developed for use by companies, utilities, planners and others to assess current and future water risks. With a greater understanding of the risks, these players then often seek technical or institutional innovation. Some examples of tools that address either water availability and/or water quality risks can be found on page 3 of the Water Technology Innovation Blueprint - Version 2.

Actions to Promote Technology Innovation
Our water resource and sustainability issues present significant market opportunities for new technology, new thinking, and enhanced economic growth. EPA will be a positive contributor with utilities, industry, investors and entrepreneurs to support technology innovation for clean and safe water.  Page 11 of the Water Technology Innovation Blueprint - Version 2 describes EPA’s several action areas for water technology innovation that include:

  • Advocating for technology innovation
  • Communicating technology innovation actions and successes
  • Creating the regulatory space to foster technology innovation
  • Speeding the assessment and delivery of proven technologies
  • Facilitating financing and funding opportunities
  • Partnering and leveraging action with others
  • Supporting research, development, and demonstration projects