The Gatekeepers of Water Tech

Water SanitizationUtility managers like Eric Rosenblum and Ron Zegers are part of a small cadre of experienced leaders within the water utility who have been facilitating new water management approaches for decades.  They have ensured that, with very few exceptions, there is a steady supply of healthy and safe drinking water.Like other water utility managers, these men play a quiet but essential role in our world. Our water infrastructure is not only the hard bound pipes and pumps that treat water and deliver it to us – it’s the lakes, streams and rivers that are our source of freshwater.  Protecting these sources has become an essential part of the role of water utilities.Control Panel

We want innovative video games and haircuts, but we want the same old water.

We want innovative video games and haircuts, but we want the same old water.  It is the responsibility of water utilities to avoid any unnecessary risks to water quality, and this makes them among the most risk adverse customers for new technology.Copy CatThey demand that new approaches be well-proven in other utilities before they’re considered. As explained by Andrew Salveson of Carollo Engineers, “One of the major hurdles we face is the municipal copy-cat market, and this presents a hurdle to innovation.”Promising technologies spend $500,000 to $1M just to prove their technology works full-scale at a single utility.  Many of the seemingly most promising companies over the past few years have not been able to survive the long and expensive process of proving their solutions in the municipal market.  As a result, the benefits of these solutions are often never seen by the general population.Scarcity and infrastructure decay require new solutions for water resources management.  The process for bringing water technology to market requires money, but more importantly it requires leadership.  The few companies that make it through this arduous process are applying innovation to how they bring to their technology to market.

One Response to The Gatekeepers of Water Tech

  1. Laurie Reynolds February 10, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    A critical factor in the innovation and product development process. The risk averse nature of water and wastewater operations makes it very difficult to scale-up and eveluate new technologies at a commercial scale.
    There is a key role for operators to play here and it needs help from a variety of professionals to de-risk the deployment and then to communicate the benefits in a trustworthy and independent way. I'm sure Eric and Ron are doing a great job, but they need a range of additional skills and resource to complete the process, otherwise the innovation will always remains a well-kept secret and a prototype.


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