Bello Solutions

Montreal, QC

If people trusted their tap water more, they’d be less likely to use bottled water.

That’s the calculus behind team Bello Solutions’ entry.

“When you are at the supermarket, there is steak with all the nutritional information on it, and on the other side, there is steak with nothing on it—which one do you pick?” team member Clement Bouland asks. To him, the answer is simple, you pick the product offering the most information.

They’re using the same logic with their project to increase trust in municipal water.

“It’s about giving people information to build trust,” Bouland said.

To do so, they envision a system of sensors hooked up to the city’s water department. The sensors will give real-time information on water quality throughout the municipal system. It will also come with remote-control capabilities to shut down certain parts of the system instantly when there is a problem, and to better be able to warn the population when things like boil-water advisories go into effect.

At the same time, using a mobile app, citizens will be able to see information about the city’s water system.

“You can see on the map where the closest drinking fountain is, and whether it is closed or open, and be sure of the quality—rated excellent or not,” Bouland said. And because fountains and other water infrastructure will be hooked up to the central sensors, if the water quality is less than excellent, they can be shut down remotely.

And with all the data being provided, the team will also be able to turn to machine learning algorithms to do things like predict when and where breakdowns might occur. This allows for maintenance to be scheduled in advance of catastrophic failures.

By being better on top of water quality issues, Bello Solutions hopes cities will build that trust with their citizens, and help cut down on the use of plastic water bottles.