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"Nearly 400 years ago, Canary Islanders settled in this basin because of its proximity to the fresh water provided by the San Antonio River and the Edwards Aquifer...Sound planning will be necessary to ensure clean and abundant water for generations to come...The City must lead the effort to ensure long-term water security through its comprehensive plan for growth."
   Councilman Ron Nirenberg, Guarding San Antonio's Eternal Water Future, 2014

2022 Challenge

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The SA Smart 2022 Challenge

Propose a product, service or strategy, tied to specific local circumstances, for
how San Antonio can best use and manage water for the long-term benefit of its residents.

San Antonio means...

  • Residents

  • Companies

  • Government departments/agencies

  • Non-profits

  • Any other organization

Using water means...

  • For drinking

  • In homes

  • For recreation

  • For creating spaces (e.g., fountains)

  • Etc.

Managing water means...

  • Sourcing

  • Storing

  • Conserving

  • Transporting

  • Treating

  • Reusing, and more


By 2040, 1.1 million new people will call San Antonio home. While this future creates many challenges, it also creates opportunities. One opportunity is to drive student learning through smart city challenges. Join us as we create learning opportunities for students rooted in the challenges faced by our city.

What is SA Smart?

SA Smart is the Mayor's K-12 Smart City Challenge. Student teams in grades 7-12 will research a San Antonio-specific smart city problem and propose a strategy, product, or service as a solution.

What events happen in SA Smart?

SA Smart starts with a fall Virtual Launch.  Then teams prepare an idea, register, and join a required late January or early February Launch Clinic.  Through March, teams work on their Research Pitch Deck.  Finalists are selected, and in April and May, finalists get help from mentors.  In late May, finalists deliver their pitch at Mayor's Cup Competition Day.

Who can participate in SA Smart?

The competition is open to any 4-6 member San Antonio area team sponsored by a school or education service provider, for students in grades 7-12, with a teacher or responsible adult acting as their sponsor.

What will students do?

What will they learn?

Students select and research a problem related to the competition topic. Their research will likely include STEM topics, and may also include civics and policy topics. Using a template we provide, they'll share their research results and recommend a strategy, product, or solution using a pitch template provided by our team. Students will also learn a lot about what it means to live in and help develop a smart city.

What's the benefit for teachers?

The topic provides a foundation for real-world problem exploration by students.  The competition design applies the concepts of Project-Based Learning (PBL) and of STEM and STEAM education. Teachers will see these concepts in action. Teachers can choose to grade program deliverables.

What will Competition Day be like?

SA Smart Competition Day will be a professionally run, high energy event where students present their research and recommendations. An awards ceremony will be held, and prizes awarded to the best performing team/s.

What will the prizes be?

The winning team will receive the Mayor's Cup.  2nd Place and possibly 3rd Place awards will be given based on bracket size.  Digital badges will be awarded to all finalists.  The teams with the top three scores will receive a voucher for additional entrepreneurship training from partner EPICenter.  Additional prizes will be determined with sponsors.

Who is the SA Smart team?

SA Smart is a cooperative effort between the Mayor's office and local STEM education and other non-profits.  The program is led by SAMSAT and Communities in Schools-San Antonio.  Other long-term partners include City of San Antonio Planning Department, City of San Antonio Innovation Department, Geekdom, CPS Energy, Education Service Center-Region 20, the Alamo STEM Ecosystem, and EPIcenter. A board manages the effort, and they select judges for the final competition. See our Partners & Team page for details.

How Can I Learn More?

To learn more about the competition, schedule, and the team running SA Smart,
visit the pages below, or contact us.
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