New alliance will support development of water technologies

A leading group of entrepreneurs, investors and policy experts have announced the launch of the Water Innovations Alliance -- an international trade association for emerging water technology companies and the organizations and communities they support -- during the fourth annual Lux Executive Summit...

CAMBRIDGE, MA, Oct. 21, 2008 -- A leading group of entrepreneurs, investors and policy experts have announced the launch of the Water Innovations Alliance -- an international trade association for emerging water technology companies and the organizations and communities they support -- during the fourth annual Lux Executive Summit.

The Washington, D.C.-based Alliance will work to expand markets, increase research funding, strengthen research and development, create a collaboratory environment, and improve education and outreach for water industry professionals.

A huge gap currently exists between global water needs and global water solutions. The water industry lags in the innovation that has suddenly erupted in clean energy. As the water industry is one of the largest consumers of electricity and oil in the world, it is critical to address this water-energy nexus and find real solutions through the development of new membrane, desalination, waste treatment and purification methodologies and technologies. Perhaps most importantly, there is a need to rapidly usher these developments out of the lab and into the global marketplace to save lives, ease tensions, and improve economies.

"The world's fresh water supplies are under incredible stress from misuse, global warming, pollution, industrialization, population expansion, and agriculture uses," said F. Mark Modzelewski, a technology entrepreneur, co-founder of the Alliance and the NanoBusiness Alliance. "The water industry has an appalling lack of innovation due to limited research and development at the public and private levels. With literally millions dying every year, energy pressures, and increased corporate and consumer demand, something must be done immediately."

"Water is the lifeblood of the earth, for its people, industries, cities and environments," said leading emerging technology investor and Alliance co-founder Josh Wolfe of Lux Capital. "If water is the result of just three atoms, then think of what will result from the combination of entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, executives and political leaders. It is our imperative to bring clean, safe, abundant and accessible water to a needy world."

Water pressure on the global water ecosystem is enormous and growing. Just 3% of the world's water is fresh water -- 2% is locked in the polar ice caps; less than 1% resides in freshwater lakes and streams. More than 1 billion people -- about one in six people in the world -- lack access to clean and safe drinking water while over 2 billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

Of the world's fresh water: more than 70% is used for agriculture; Over 15% is for industrial use; the rest is used for personal use. Decaying infrastructure accounts for huge losses of water, with cities like Chicago losing over 60% of water before it gets to the faucet.

Water is the third largest industry in the world at $400 billion in annual revenues, trailing only oil and electricity in market size.
The USA uses 402 billion gallons of water per day, including:
-- 32.5 gallons per person for daily home shower use
-- 2,500 gallons for one pound of beef
-- 62,600 gallons one ton of steel
-- 24 gallons for one pound of plastic
-- 39,090 gallons of water to manufacture a new car and tires

"Six years ago I attended a conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center in DC where the late Dr. Richard Smalley, Nobel prize winner, was the Keynote Speaker," said Vincent Caprio, President of the NY NanoBusiness Alliance and co-founder of Water Innovations Alliance. "Dr. Smalley said that water was the defining crisis of the 21st Century. Since then I have studied the current state of our water sources and as a nation we must deal with the water issue."

The Water Innovations Alliance will showcase the need for solutions in water technologies and highlight cutting-edge solutions to key stakeholders in government, industry, NGOs, and the public at-large. The Alliance aims to push for further and more rapid development of innovations to better preserve water, increase access to water, and to treat waste and industrial water through increased funding of university and national laboratories, incentives to industry and investors, development of international collaborations, and public/private partnerships. The organization will also work to develop pertinent information and analysis to ease the expansion of such program efforts.

>>Additional information on the Alliance

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