March 15th - May 8th, 2024


We cannot live without water. It’s part of everything we do – from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed. Threats like climate change, pollution and aging infrastructure impact our water supplies and security.

Join us in solving water challenges to expand water access and resilience for all.

  • Over 8 weeks, solve one of the following Challenge Statements in teams of up to 5 students
  • Prizes awarded for projects in 2 tracks – high school (secondary) & university tracks
  • Be mentored by & participate in webinars with water industry experts 
  • Join the Water MasterClass, a series of engaging video classes, to learn a range of important water topics from water sustainability to design thinking.


Your team will choose one of the following challenge statements to work on:


One pathway for microplastics that are used in our households to enter the environment is through wastewater. Microplastics can be released from cosmetics, such as facial scrubs and toothpaste, from detergents used in laundering and dishwashing, from plastics flushed down the toilet (e.g., disposable contact lenses, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes) and even from our clothes during washing. Municipal wastewater treatment plants can capture up to 99% of outgoing microplastics through skimming and settling mechanisms. However, the fraction that is not captured equates to billions of microplastics being discharged daily, directly into aquatic ecosystems. 

Design a technology or method to improve capture of microplastics in outgoing wastewater. Consider solutions that could work in households and/or at industrial or municipal wastewater treatment plants. When designing, consider cost, materials, feasibility and ease of use. 


Given the benefits to remote monitoring of equipment, we find new and innovative ways to bring more technology and insight into Water Purification. From establishing effective service routines that minimize gas consumption to schedules that promote full use of product lifespans, offering remote technology promotes efficiencies of equipment, minimizes unnecessary waste, and lowers the overall carbon footprint that industries place on the environment. Water purification not only allows enhanced water recycling methods, but truly creates an array of healthier environmental options for water usage. 

Consider the number of times a facility may request service on a water system or digital network: You are asked to find new methods of remote technology, process improvements, or unique water purification product designs that could allow industries to reduce wastes created in these events. Your project should include a quantitative assessment of how the implementation of the proposed countermeasures will lead to GHGs reduction, by improving energy efficiency and water use. 


Currently, 3 out of 10 people do not have access to clean drinking water, and many communities are

threatened by water scarcity, which continue to worsen due to increasing population growth and

climate change. Only 1% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, therefore it needs to be managed properly

and conserved. Xylem works to address these global water issues in multiple ways, including through

high-impact education activities and awareness campaigns, delivered in partnership with schools,

universities, and youth-focused nonprofit organizations. 

For this challenge, develop an interactive and engaging activity, presentation, or module that will

increase awareness of an important water topic that you select.  Your proposed educational module

should be informative and include calls to action that can engage young people and communities in the

ongoing work to address the water issues.


High School Track

For students enrolled in:

  • High school
  • Secondary school
  • Pre-university or equivalent

University Track

For students enrolled in:

  • College or university bachelors programs
  • Community college
  • Vocational schools
  • Polytechnics
  • Coding bootcamps
  • Other tertiary or post-secondary schools or equivalent

Participants must be at least 13 years of age and no older than 25 years of age at the time of the challenge start, March 15, 2024 to participate.

See Official Rules for full details of eligibility.

*If a participant is under 18 years of age, a Parent/Guardian Consent & Release form, which can be obtained during registration, must be submitted. Failure to do so will end in disqualification of participation at the Xylem Global Student Innovation Challenge 2024.


Your projects will be judged on the following criteria:


Will this solution have a far reach and market potential?

How does it affect your community or what social impact does it have?

Challenge Fit and Feasibility

How relevant is the proposed solution to the stated challenge?

How well does it solve the problem in a real-world setting?


Is the project new and disruptive?

Does the project deliver a fresh and compelling user experience?


All prizes will be divided equally amongst the winning team members.

University Students

Grand Prize: $5,000

 Challenge Prize: 3 x $1,000

1 winner per Challenge

People’s Choice: $500

High School Students

Grand Prize: $5,000

Challenge Prize: 3 x $1,000

1 winner per Challenge

People’s Choice: $500



Water Master Class:

On Demand

Xylem's Water Master Class videos for students to learn about global water challenges and solutions. Guest speakers include Al Cho, SVP, Chief Strategy and Digital Officer for Xylem and George Hawkins, former CEO of DC Water.

Innovation Challenge Kick Off:

Friday | March 15 at 6:00am PT / 9:00am ET / 2:00pm UTC

Opening Ceremony and Innovation Challenge Overview. Learn about the innovation challenge, how to win a challenge, and presentation/demo tips.

Challenge Statement Webinars:

Webinar Date to be Announced Soon!

(Challenge Statement #1)

Webinar Date to be Announced Soon!

(Challenge Statement #2)

Webinar Date to be Announced Soon!

(Challenge Statement #3)


Innovation Challenge Begins!

Friday | March 15, 2024

Background resources and data are released for the four challenge statements. Have fun innovating!

Team Formation Webinar

Tuesday | March 19, 2024

Join this webinar to find teammates for your project.

Project Deadline:

Wednesday | May 8, 2024

All final presentation videos and projects must be submitted by 1:00pm PT / 4:00pm ET / 8:00pm UTC in order to qualify for the innovation challenge. Late submissions will not be accepted.


May 8 - May 20

Judges will review projects.

Winners Announced:

Late May

The Xylem Global Student Innovation Challenge winners will be announced!  

End of May

The winning teams will be recognized during a virtual awards ceremony with Xylem.

June and July - The top teams from each track will be invited to apply for the Xylem Ignite Innovation Incubator, to further develop your projects

Previous Winners Testimonials


Team Uplift: Urban Predictive Learning Implemented Flood Tracking
Surya Tallavarjula – California, USA

“The problem was to find a way to predict flooding events given rainfall discharge and gage height data. I used machine learning to predict flooding severity based on these factors. I created an app where the user can input values for discharge, gage height, rainfall and the output is flood prediction.

I think that challenge is a valuable opportunity for us students to showcase our ideas and actually use our skills to tackle real-world problems."


Team H2Optimizer: Kickstarting Water’s Race to Net Zero

Tan Li, Jocelyn, Ch’ng Jing, Lin Yong, Ong Wei - Malaysia

“We propose to combat the greenhouse gas emissions in a Malaysian wastewater treatment plant with a combination of Floating Solar Panels, thus reducing reliance on burning of fossil fuel and natural gas to generate electricity, Sludge Processing to generate energy in the form of biogas, and Aeration & Monitoring System.

We hope that through the implementation of our strategies we would be able to achieve the vision of Net Zero in the near future.”


Team AquaFlo: Keeping Water Flowing in Rural Communities

Judy, Kate, Safa, Da Yun, Kai – Canada

An estimated ⅓ of the hand-pumps in Sub-Saharan Africa are out of service at any given time and stay down due to limited information. Our app and SMS/IVR system act as a one-stop-shop for everything related to hand-pump troubleshooting and reporting. As a team passionate about using technology for social good, this challenge statement allowed us to impact and improve the quality of life for a large population.


Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to solving critical water and infrastructure challenges with innovation. Our 17,000 diverse employees delivered revenue of $5.2 billion in 2021. We are creating a more sustainable world by enabling our customers to optimize water and resource management and helping communities in more than 150 countries become water secure. Join us at

Xylem Ignite

Xylem Ignite is our global youth program to build a strong network of passionate student leaders and empower them to drive real changes in the water industry.

We recognize the mounting environmental challenges impacting humankind and the need to prepare the next generation of young talents to solve water issues. Under our 3 key program pillars – Innovation, Education & Community Involvement, many activities ranging from hackathons to the Incubator program, are held to enroll, ignite and nurture our NextGen Water Leaders.

It is a critical moment in time for water, but also one with incredible new opportunities. If you’re passionate about solving water, we welcome you to join our activities!


If you have any questions regarding the challenge and eligibility, please reach out to us immediately!

©2024 BeMyApp - All rights reserved