"First there was the Ansari X Prize and Lunar X Prize. Now there's the Desal Prize. The goal of the competition, which kicks off Thursday, is to create desalination technology that makes saltwater suitable for drinking or farming."
The contest's purpose is to give a boost to the developing world—and maybe to drought-stricken California.
"We looked at the landscape for already-existing technologies". Experts point out that desalination alone will not solve the problems caused by California's four-year drought.
But the technology can make a difference, particularly for individual towns or cities.
Five engineering teams are competing in Alamogordo, New Mexico, for the chance to win $200,000 in prize funds by coming up with the best way to turn brackish water, or briny inland water, into water that's drinkable by humans and crops alike.
Read more: Results are set to be announced around April 22, in conjunction with Earth Day.