I embarked a month ago on a journey to understand the “water puzzle”: it is arguably the most important resource on the planet, yet it has seen a limited amount of venture investment despite decades of alarming stories and predictions that water is the new oil. Unlike James Bond in Quantum of Solace running after a mad man buying water wells around the globe, I simply asked international experts to help me put the pieces together.
Investments in this area represent only 3% of venture capital invested in clean-tech according to a recent report from Mia Javier, Sr. Research Analyst at the Cleantech Group. The $257M invested in 47 companies in 2010 spanned across water treatment (47%), waste water (41%), and water management (12%). One of the barriers is the complexity of the water eco-system that does not facilitate the integration of new technologies to re-use water and to transform waste to energy. Mia Javier calls for a smarter water framework and simpler water landscape. Is smart water the answer to the water conundrum?