Australia’s first utility-led water hackathon, WaterHack18, has uncovered new ideas to get people excited about drinking water.

Celebrity infused water, fat finding sensors and using beer are a taste of the ideas that came out of the Queensland Urban Utilities’ led event held over the weekend of February 23 to 25 at Brisbane’s iconic startup hub, Fishburners.

Queensland Urban Utilities Senior Digital Strategist and WaterHack organiser, Margarita Camus, said it was the hottest ticket in town with over 100 hackers taking part and more than 100 on the waiting list.

“It was inspiring to see Brisbane’s brightest tech minds come together to hack challenges facing our industry,” Ms Camus said.

“Topics included sustainability in a digital age, investing in smart networks and the role of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“The hackers built prototypes, obtained customer validation and talked to industry experts who mentored over the weekend.”

The event culminated on Sunday afternoon with 14 teams pitching to a judging panel.

The overall winner was Team Loop Brewing who decided to market beer made with recycled water to change people’s perception of drinking recycled water.

Team spokesperson Rhonda McGrath said they had fun working on the idea over the weekend, especially the market research.

“We got out and about in a few bars where we found people didn’t like the idea of drinking recycled water, but they loved the idea of drinking beer made from recycled water,” Ms McGrath said.

“So we hope this is the first step to make people embrace the concept of drinking recycled water which is vital for long-term water security.”

Team Loop Brewing took home $10,000 from Queensland Urban Utilities as well as $5000 from Deloitte for winning the Community and Sustainability Challenge.

Other winners of $5000 in prize money were Team WHAM for the Technology and Digital, Blockchain Challenge sponsored by Aurecon and Team Water Wi$e for the IoT, Smart Cities and Engineering Challenge sponsored by AECOM.

Major partners of the event included Amazon Web Services, Fishburners and Green Beacon.

The event was also supported by Hackathons Australia, RedEye, Women in Digital and WaterAid.

Ms Camus said the event wouldn’t have been possible without all the sponsors, so a big thank you to everyone.

“We’re also thrilled to donate $2700 from registrations to WaterAid to support their important work creating a world where everyone has access to safe drinking water and Sanitation.

“Innovation is a major part of our culture at Queensland Urban Utilities and WaterHack18 was an exciting way to share this with our community. Stay tuned, there could be a WaterHack19!”

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