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Water is California’s most valuable commodity today because the state endures a drought which scientists call worst for 1200 flight.

State officials say more than 1,200 wells have gone dry this year, a nearly 50 percent increase over the same period last year. California’s water crisis is most severe in the San Joaquin Valley, the nation’s most productive agricultural region. This year’s snow melt and rain were not enough to replenish the already depleted groundwater reserves.

Now an Australian company has tapped into an innovative potential solution to the crisis by “growing” water that’s suitable for drinking, farming and almost any other use.

“We like to say that, simply put, we grow water,” said Terry Paule, co-founder and CEO of Australia-based Botanical Water Technologies. BWT has entered into a partnership with California-based Ingomar Packing Company.

Ingomar turns tons of tomatoes grown in the San Joaquin Valley into ketchup and tomato paste. A natural by-product of this process is water, which until now just went down the drain. “We evaporate a lot of tomatoes to make ketchup. And that evaporation condensate is what we capture. Then we put it through a purification process.” said Paul.

All of this happens in a separate unit that fits into a shipping container. “From just one plant, we can produce up to 250 million gallons of water in 90 days,” said AJ Priester, BWT’s Chief Commercial Officer. Clean water can then flow through pipes or be transported to municipalities, depleted reservoirs, farms, industry and even domestic water tanks.

Taste test

So one might wonder, what does tomato water actually taste like? “The water is this water that I drink. It’s crystal clear. It tastes like really, really great water,” Paule said.

In fact, BWT water was named Australia’s Drink of the Year 2019.

BWT works to provide water to several thirsty California cities.

Each cleaning unit costs about $1 million. He can travel anywhere any crop is being processed and then move to another area.

BWT has also created a Water Exchange where corporations that want to give back to their community or use a lot of water can buy clean water and donate it to areas in need.

Plant-to-water technology has existed in Australia for more than a decade. Paule said it started with grapes during the winemaking process and has since spread to almost any other fruit or vegetable you can think of, including sugar cane.

Paule said he soon plans to take the technology to India, where clean water is scarce. He calls it a “game changer” and a “huge invention for the world.”

BWT hopes to play a major role in alleviating the world’s water crisis by providing clean, safe drinking water to 100 million of the world’s most vulnerable people by 2025.

Here in the US, it starts with tomatoes—a drop in the bucket that could lead to a fountain of clean water for a thirsty world.

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