Accelerating innovations to market

Water accelerator Testbeds

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Our Accelerator Testbeds enable innovators to test, trial, pilot, and demonstrate their technologies within “real world” environments through a “plug-and-play” approach that standardizes location, equipment, and access while providing for legal and insurance considerations. We welcome innovators of any size, from start-ups to mid-sized companies, to multinational corporations.

The CWA team is your dedicated partner for creating and commercializing breakthrough water industry solutions, expanding your reach within U.S. markets, and accelerating your opportunities for global impact. Join us at the leading edge.

We have 40 trials completed, underway, or scheduled with a growing waitlist for 2023 deployments!

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Opportunities for

  • Accelerator Space with US-Based Office Address
  • Direct Investment, Seed funding, and financing Support
  • Research and Industry Collaboration
  • Prototyping and Manufacturing
  • Market Visibility and Connections

Innovators Welcome

Participation in CWA’s primary innovation programming - our Water Accelerator Testbeds and Open Innovation Challenges - is open to burgeoning and established companies alike. These programs are designed to elevate innovators by offering opportunities to gather feedback, test and trial technology, and connect with potential customers and end users.

As we continue to evolve and develop new technologies that address specific needs in the marketplace, we're immensely grateful for our partnership with Cleveland Water Alliance. They've created an easy avenue not only for innovators to refine and demonstrate their technologies, but also for users to evaluate for themselves what's going to make a positive difference in their proccesses."

- Andrew Luessenhop
Regional Sales Manager
In-Situ Environmental

Our Program

Our Water Accelerator Testbeds program currently features two distinct testbed environments in which innovators can trial, test, or demonstrate their technologies:

  1. Lake Erie Watershed Testbeds
  2. Pipe Farm Testbed

Each facilitates a unique infrastructure suited for a variety of technology solutions.

Gear turning with a person inside

Leverage CWA's telecommunications coverage and a network of locations to test, pilot, and demonstrate IoT solutions within a wide range of natural environments - from open water, beaches, and rivers to inland creeks, lakes, and ponds.

Mitigate risk with insurance support for qualified pilots.

Gear turning with a lightbulb inside

Utilize benchmarking equipment and processes to validate technology performance against traditional against traditional methods and approaches.

Gear turning with a wrench inside

Gain visibility with early adopters, potential buyers, and the broader market.

Target turning

Lake Erie Watershed Testbeds

Our Smart Lake Erie Watershed is available as a testbed for IoT and other technologies such as antibiofouling and network extension. The telecommunications infrastructure we’ve built across Lake Erie provides coverage that makes it possible to deploy in a variety of environments. 

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Learn more about our Smart Lake Erie Watershed Initiative
Lake sensor map

Smart Lake Erie Watershed Testbed features a variety of natural environments

  • Open water
  • Streams
  • Rivers
  • Ponds
  • Wetlands
  • And more

The Technology

Illustrated lab tube

With our network of data sensors across the Lake Erie watershed, technology can be deployed within  our existing infrastructure, allowing companies and innovators to measure performance and data against best-in-class equipment. 

Our Smart Lake Erie Initiative currently provides data to a range of local and regional partners, providing our testbed participants with unique connections to the end-users of their technology solutions. Select pilots may be eligible for CWA insurance coverage.

Creating a Smart, Connected Sandbox for IoT Technologies

Illustrated computer chip

IoT (Internet of Things) describes various physical objects that are equipped with sensors or other devices, connected through an internet or telecommunications network. CWA has worked to outfit a variety of buoys, marine infrastructures, and shoreline structures with sensors that provide data about the real-time lake and watershed conditions. 

With our Smart Lake Erie Watershed Initiative, we are in the process of reaching over 12,000 square miles of telecommunications coverage over the Lake Erie Watershed, making the data collection possible. We are currently utilizing the long-rage yet low-power capabilities of LoRaWAN, but are exploring additional networks as the Initiative grows.

2 men standing in front of a car with sensors on a bridge

The Market for Water IoT technology is rapidly growing

IoT technologies comprise a significant portion of the growing environmental monitoring and “smart water management” landscapes. According to a January 2022 report, the global environmental monitoring market – which includes sensors for monitoring air, water and soil – is projected to grow $3.4 billion by 2026. Other reports estimate that the global market for water-quality sensors alone is growing by a rate of nearly double that.Further research projects that the global “smart water management” market will exceed $23 billion by 2027, at a growth rate of over 12%. This includes “sensors, smart meters, communication infrastructure, and software that enables two-way communication” supporting the water industry.

CWA is Creating a Hub for Water IoT with a variety of applications in the lifecyle of IoT Tech

Data Housing
Data Management
Cloud Platforms
AI & Predictive Analysis
Cyber Security

Test & Trial Technology Against our Existing Benchmark Data

CWA’s various buoys from nearshore to far offshore have a range of sensors gathering a variety of data. Here are some examples of the data parameters currently gathered from buoys around the Lake Erie Watershed:

  • Rainfall
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Water level
  • Soil moisture/temperature
  • Turbidity
  • Conductivity
  • Relative humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Solar radiation
  • Water temperature
  • Chlorophyll
  • Motion Detection (PIR)
Lake Erie testbed infographic

Featured Deployments

In-Situ logoBioceanor logoXylem logo

Pipe Farm Testbeds

In addition to our Smart Lake Erie testbeds, we’ve created a Pipe Farm in collaboration with Cleveland Water where innovators can trial, test, and demonstrate technology around the use and detection of lead service lines. We’ve recently completed additional construction to accommodate new testing in this testbed!

The need for technology that can detect lead pipes underground

Environmental exposure to lead is of great concern, especially to our most vulnerable populations, including children and pregnant women. For over 50 years, the U.S. has been implementing legislation to mitigate the harmful effects of lead. Recent events like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan have again brought lead-related water issues to the forefront. Lead can enter water systems as a result of the corrosion of lead-containing plumbing materials. As we face aging water infrastructure across the country, the US EPA began evaluating stricter regulations surrounding the elimination of lead in water service lines.

In January 2021, the US Federal Government and EPA created a requirement for water utilities across the country to provide a complete materials inventory of the water service lines within their distribution system by 2024, accounting for both utility-owned and customer-owned portions of the water service line. 

People standing in a field with equipment

This development represents a pivotal market driver for innovations in the detection of lead service lines in the very near future. Utilities have few ways of effectively and accurately identifying these antiquated service lines across their entire territories without physically excavating and examining each individual line, making this approach expensive and impractical. There is an urgent need for a technology to detect service line materials in situ, without the need for excavation. The creation of a tool or technology that is capable of detecting service line materials including lead, copper, and galvanized steel, to an efficiency of 90% or greater without excavation would serve as an asset to the water industry in achieving this EPA regulatory requirement.

Seeking tech that can detect the materials of service lines without breaking ground

Our Pipe Farm Testbed is created to test and demonstrate technologies that can physically detect the material comprising service lines without breaking ground, and without the use of broader data inputs (like statistical/AI-prediction methods), The envisioned technology or device would ultimately be used by utility contractors during service-line replacement seasons in the field.

Residential service lines are typically up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter - up to 1 inch in diameter for lead service lines - and buried 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m) below ground.

The Pipe Farm Testbed is a parcel of land within which service line pipes comprised of various materials such as lead, copper, galvanized steel, and brass are buried below ground. Ground composition may include soil, sand, clay, gravel, and more. To mimic real-world conditions, each pipe will include a simulated curb stop valve access point through which potential detection devices may also be inserted.

Do you have a technology in any stage that meets these qualifications?

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