USAID Announces Water Desalination Prize Competition


The Desal Prize is part of the $32 million Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development. The U.S. Bureau for Reclamation is providing support in the design and implementation of the prize.

USAID Global Water Coordinator Christian Holmes announced the prize at a U.S. Department of State event marking World Water Day, an annual global celebration highlighting the importance of freshwater resources. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren also spoke at the event.

“Water scarcity is one of today’s most pressing development challenges, and the impact of water on all aspects of development is undeniable,” said Holmes. “We must augment traditional water supplies to satisfy future demand. We urgently need solutions to fulfill the growing need for potable water.”

While water desalination technologies currently exist, few are suitable for rural or remote areas where brackish water is abundant and there is a great need for technologies that can provide fresh water for home and farm use. Projections indicate that by 2025, two-thirds of world’s populations could be living in severe water stress conditions.

The Desal Prize will award up to $500,000 in grand prize money to individuals or organizations that develop cost effective, energy-efficient, brackish water desalination technologies that provide safe water for drinking and agricultural use. 10 to 12 semifinalists will also receive seed money to test or further develop their device.

GET INVOLVED: From March 21, 2014 to April 14, 2014 help us make the Desal Prize even better! We will be collecting your feedback and suggestions about the Prize as part of our Request for Information. The information you provide will help us to refine the criteria for the prize competition.

To learn more about the Desal Prize, visit To stay updated on twitter, follow @SecuringWater #DesalPrize.


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