Aquatech (03/11/14) (Rebroadcast)

From Egyptian irrigation systems to Roman aqueducts to the dikes and canals of The Netherlands, the world’s civilizations have long found innovative ways to harness and conserve their water supply. But with California entering the third year of an historic drought, what 21st century technologies are on the horizon to help us deal with an ever-shrinking pool of water? Peter Yolles is the CEO of Watersmart Software, which takes a grass-roots approach to the issue by educating residential and commercial customers on how to save water. For most residential customers, says Yolles, saving water is part of the social compact. “Research tells us that only 1 out of 10 people will change their behavior to save money.” Yolles says. “Only 1 out of 10 people will change their behavior to save the environment. But 8 out of 10 will do so because of what’s happening around them.” Comparing water usage within a community, he says, is the first step. “That really motivates people to say, “Gosh, I’m using a lot more than my neighbors. What can I do to save water?” Tamin Pechet is the Chairman of Imagine H20, which seeks out and funds start-ups in the water industry. He says the need for new ideas is greater than ever. “Over the past couple of decades, the pressures on our water system have increased,” says Pechet. “When we face an acute event, like a drought or…a heavy series of rains that causes more water to enter into our storm and sewer systems, we don’t have the same level of excess capacity to deal with that as we used to. We essentially need a new wave of innovation to address those problems.” And a new wave of entrepreneurs and innovators are out there, exploring solutions from desalination to wastewater treatment to mining satellite data. Despite dire predictions for California’s reservoirs and rivers, Pechet says the future of water technology is promising. “There’s a lot of really cool stuff out there,” he told the Commonwealth Club audience. “The history of water in civilization is one of innovation. And so just about anything that you dream up…is something that someone could innovate and come up with. If you look hard enough, you can find a company doing it.” Steven Hartmeier, CEO, mOasis Tamin Pechet, CEO, Banyan Water, Chairman, Imagine H2O Peter Yolles, CEO, WaterSmart Software This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club of California on March 11, 2014 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One