water you waiting for
International botanical water company plans expansion into Houston
More than 2 million Americans don’t have access to clean drinking water, according to one study by the U.S. Water Alliance group.
To help close that water gap, international firm, Botanical Water Technologies, has plans to expand its presence in the United States with the Houston region being a strategic area to roll out the implementation of a patented water filtration technology. In addition, the group is launching a blockchain enabled trading platform with Fujitsu to help support the business.
“Water is finite,” says James Rees, chief impact officer at BWT. “Due to global growth and climate conditions, we are going to have between 20 to 30 percent less water available to us by 2025. Communities are facing issues with water infrastructure. Some communities don't have water. This is where BWT plans to come in to help.”
BWT’s 7-year-tested technology, created in Australia, works by extracting water out of fruit and vegetable processing. The units collect water that condensates from farming such as tomato or sugar cane processing and creates a potable, clean drinking water output.
The blockchain enabled platform allows a water processor the ability to go on to BWT’s water exchange and acquire the water that is being harvested now and for future seasons.
“If you’re a beverage company or an environmental impact organization, you’ll be able to go online and actually see what water is available in each region,” he says. “We’ve got the way to effectively match all that up.”
BWT is in the midst of raising $15 million in capital and is targeting strategic U.S. Investors with plans to close the cap raising by end of year. The company has also identified over 10,000 locations globally that could be harnessed with this technology which is equivalent to three trillion liters of new sustainable water that’s available, says Rees.
BWT plans to make this water available for three different uses: an alternative for a big beverage company to source its water, to replenish water basins that have been overdrawn, and to provide to communities that don’t have access to water.
“In Houston, you have a number of green tech incubators starting up here,” says Rees. “A lot of the oil and gas and traditional energy companies are thinking about sustainability, and they also have the people on the ground. So, whether it’s programmers, businesspeople, sustainability officers … it’s a big collective of people in Houston and Texas focused on green tech. Texas, and particularly Houston, is actually quite progressive around sustainability.”
Looking into the future, Rees explained that water scarcity will only continue to become a bigger issue for communities due to global population growth, climate change, industrial and real estate expansion, and the way we use and treat water.
BWT has plans to implement its US expansion beginning with areas in California and move into Texas over the next two years.
“In Texas, we’d like to identify fruit and vegetable concentrators within our water scarce areas who are producing and have the ability to use our technology,” he says. “Also, there’s a lot of talent being drawn toward Houston that was traditionally med tech but now we’re seeing climate tech. We’re happy to be here and develop a head office here to help grow our business within the US.”
James Rees is the Houston-based chief impact officer at BWT. Photo via LinkedIn