Causes of the global water crisis and 12 companies trying to solve it

ItsWorld Water Day. Time to wake up and take shorter showers. That is, if were fortunate enough to have them. Water scarcity and pollution are persistent global problems. According toEnd Water Poverty , some 663 million people around the world have utterly no reliableaccess to clean, safe water year-round. And two-thirds of the world population faces water scarcity for at least one month every year.

Inthe wealthyUS, were facing a different kind of water crisis largely of our own produce. In 2016 only 9 states reported safe lead levels in their schools water supply. Lead and copper contamination can come from irresponsible industry, aging pipes, ineffectualwater therapy plants and too little investment in our public water infrastructure.

Droughts and natural disasters can cut off access to potable and sanitary water anywhere in the world, too. Haiti is known as a pipeless nation, still regaining from 2010 s catastrophic earthquake and consequent natural disasters. In Haiti, merely one-quarter of residents have access to lavatories, according to the World Bank .Andits hard to believe it, but giant freshwater sources in North America like Lake Mead in Arizona or the Colorado River may not be able to keep pumping to residents homes and business much longer thanks to drought and pollution.

Our daily intake of water affects future furnish, of course. Right now, according to research by WWF, wasteful irrigation systems on farms consume about 70% of the worlds freshwater, over doubled that of any other industry. By contrast, municipal water represents a mere 8% of global employ. Bad irrigation practises in farming can hurt our water in other styles, cleaning pollutantsinto rivers, rivers or other freshwater ecosystems.

At TechCrunch, were lucky to find the hopeful ways that startups, investors and other organizations areworking to solve huge problems plaguing humanity with tech, including the global water crisis.Here are 12 to watch πŸ˜› TAGEND

1. Water Is Life

The nonprofit Water is Life makes and distributes portable water filters that look like big straws.The components inside the straws are membranes, iodized crystals and active carbon, which eliminateharmful bacteria and viruses including typhoid, cholera, E. coli, and reduce other harmful particles so people can drink safely wherever they run. Water is Life also creates education campaign, and even a VR game, to teachkids why andhow they shouldclean or filter water before they drink from a potentially unsafe source.

2. charity: water

Charity: water is focused onhelping people get access to clean water. Founder Scott Harrisonhas get support from the tech community throughout the years, with entrepreneurs like Sean Parker and Michael Birch involved with the organization.

3. The Human Utility: Detroit Water Project

Backed by Y Combinator, TeeSpring and the Shuttleworth Foundation, The Human Utility is helpinglow-income families get help payingfor their water bills so their taps wont be turned off by utilities leaving them thirsty in their own homes.

4. WaterSmart

WaterSmarts software helps the water industryunderstand whats happening to every last drop-off of H2O. It aggregates and investigates information from millions of water meters, predicts demand, and helps utilities communicate with clients about everything from leaks at home to service or rate changes. WaterSmart is making moves with a recent$ 7 million raise at a $21 million pre-money valuation.

5. Valor Water

Backed by Y Combinator, Valor Waterhelps utility understand who is squander and who is conserve water among their customers. With that data, they can target rate hikes at water animals, and cut conservationists a good deal to incentivize responsible water use. The company previously competed in TechCrunchs Startup Battlefield in San Francisco.


TOTOmanufactures high-efficiency lavatories and has been named a Water Efficiency Leader by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which lauded its sustainable manufacturing and advocacy endeavours. The companys toilets clean themselves with electrolyzed water after every utilize. TOTOinvited TechCrunch totest-drivetheir latestbidet-and-toilet model at CES this year, but our reporter declined since he was doing the story on camera.

7. Pluto AI

This company, which was one of our favourites from 500 Startups 19 th class, is developing an application of deep learning for water management .~ uses data and machine learning topredict infrastructure failures and to monitor water usage. The company is strivingto reduce operating costs at two of the 10 largest water companies in the world who it counts among its partners today.

8. ImagineH2 0

Imagine H2O is a water-focused accelerator and fund providing water entrepreneurs with the resources, insight and visibility to launching and scale successful businesses. The companys annual water invention prize rallies entrepreneurs to focus on solving different water-related problems with their technology.This years winner, Utilis, use satellite imagery and big data analytics to find leaks in underground water supplies to large, urban markets so that cities can stop themand save that water for residential use.

9. XPV WaterPartners

AToronto-based venture firm called XPV Water Partners has developed a specialization around startups in the water industry, one of the most regulatedsectors in every nation. Its portfolio includes microbial monitoring tech startup LuminUltra, water reclamation and reuse venture Natural Systems Utilities, and Shenandoah Growers, a grower oforganic herbs that uses9 0% less water than needed with traditional farming methods, but no photo-sharing or dating apps.

10 . Planet Water Foundation

This nonprofitinstalls water filtration systems in rural communities and at schools around the world so that they are able to have clean, safe drinking water. The systems, called Aqua Towers, trap harmful particles, and kill bacteria and viruses, providing 1,000 people with 10,000 liters of clean water per unit daily.

11. RWL Water

New York-based RWL Water buildsdesalination plantsand wastewater treatment systems around the world. The company works to provide a power supply to customers who are in geographically remote areas but need water to power their communities and business. Most recently, RWLacquired a water plant in So Paulo, Brazil, a market that has been struggling to keep its residents and businesses in clean water after a two year, El Nio drought.

12. Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation is a tour de forcesupporting tech to solve problems that plaguehumanity. The foundationsWater& Sanitation Hygiene Challenge, and Reinvent the Toilet fairawardgrants toorganizations that improvesanitation in the developing world.According to the foundations own research, Better sanitation contributes to economic development, delivering up to$ 5 in social and economic benefits for every$ 1 invested through increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and prevention of illness, disability, and early death.

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