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10 problems. 10 days. 10 big thinkers.

Non-profit initiative brings entrepreneurs to Denver to tackle tough problems — including water.

This week in Denver, 10 entrepreneurs are taking on 10 “wicked” problems in just 10 days. This formula is the vision for the 10.10.10 initiative — a nonprofit founded to bring breakthrough thinking to the world’s greatest problems.

10.10.10 Cities 2017 in Denver is focused on solving "wicked problems" in water and infrastructure.

And this week they are taking on two of our favorite complex challenges: water and infrastructure.

The 10 problems, announced Oct. 16, are:

  1. Making water management more flexible and transparent.
  2. Allocating water more efficiently for commercial, agricultural, energy, environmental/recreational and residential uses.
  3. Providing users with information about water use in a format that encourages action in times of drought.
  4. Creating new water sources through innovation, reclamation and reuse.
  5. Reducing water pollution in a cost-effective manner.
  6. Meeting infrastructure needs in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
  7. Financing needed infrastructure.
  8. Using “big data” when making decisions.
  9. Changing transportation infrastructure to accommodate cars, trains, bikes, electric and autonomous vehicles, and pedestrians.
  10. Transitioning to a “smart city.”

Expert resources from organizations like Water for People, The Nature Conservancy, Colorado Foundation for Water Education, Xcel Energy, AECOM, American Water Works Association and the Colorado Water Conservation Board are assisting participating entrepreneurs throughout their problem-solving journey.

Denver Water’s own Greg Fisher is serving as a water expert resource for the entrepreneurs. “10.10.10 is taking an innovative approach to solving many of the challenges that face the water industry,” he said.

“Denver Water needs help from outside the water industry to bring fresh thinking to these ‘wicked problems.’”

The initiative is one of many ways Denver Water is seeking collaborative thinking to bring new ideas and perspectives to water problems. Staff are working with Grand County to pioneer environmental projects like Fraser Flats and with Colorado State University to create a world-class center for water research at the new National Western Complex.

“Expanding our network beyond the water industry and dedicating more of our focus to innovative thinking is at the heart of these programs,” said Fisher.

On Oct. 26, the results of the 10.10.10 Cities Finale will be revealed. Tickets are $10 for the event, which takes place at 4 p.m. at the Cable Center.