MILAN — Utilis has been chosen as top entry out of 65 projects from 23 different countries in the WaterFirst! Initiative, winning the 10,000 euro prize and recognition at Seeds&Chips, The Global Food Innovation Summit in MiCo, Milano Congressi.

Seeds&Chips was presented in collaboration with the National Research Council (CNR), The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and UNIDO ITPO Italy (the Italian Investment and Technology Promotion Offices, part of the United Nations Organization for Industrial Development). The international competition was launched to identify the most innovative technology and ideas to solve the problem of sustainable water management, the most urgent challenge confronting the world.

“Utilis is so very pleased to be honored with this award, and for it to be in Italy, where we have provided services for 20 utility customers already, makes it even more special,” said Elly Perets, CEO of Utilis, after hearing of the outcome.

Utilis was previously chosen as one of five finalists who received travel and accommodation costs to facilitate their participation in the summit by a jury composed of experts and scientific advisors to the summit from IIT, CNR and UNIDO ITPO Italy. The overall winner was announced on May 9 at the 2018 Global Food Innovation Summit.

Utilis was selected for its innovative, efficient and economical system that detects drinking water leaks from pipes using satellite imagery.

“It is immensely satisfying to receive such a large and diverse pool of candidates for this competition,” said Marco Gualtieri, founder and chairman of Seeds&Chips. “This is a clear signal not only of the level of attention to water on a global level, but more importantly of the profound commitment to meet this challenge with innovative and sustainable solutions. We are proud to award the best project and include them in our ecosystem so that they can effectively contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Along with the cash prize, Utilis received a special award dedicated to and named for Ambassador Giorgio Giacomelli. Giacomelli, a Milanese diplomat who passed away in 2017, devoted his illustrious career to the conservation and management of water resources. In 2006, he was named an honorary member of the UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation by then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.