The Water Works Venture: The Journey of Commercializing a NASA-Patented Personal Water Reclamation System to Emergency Management Frameworks in Healthcare Institutions
Consider Steven Cryos’ words, “When disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed.” Witnessing domestic water insecurity in events such as Hurricane Katrina, the instability in Flint, Michigan, and most recently the winter storms affecting millions across Texas, we decided to take action. The period between a water supply’s disruption and restoration is filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and distress -- particularly since there is no clear indication of when, exactly, restoration comes. It is for this reason that Water Works now exists. As a team of students from diverse backgrounds, what started as an honors project with the Founders Lab at Arizona State University became the seed that will continue to mature into an economically sustainable business model supporting the optimistic visions and tenants of humanitarianism. By having conversations with community members, conducting market research, competing for funding and fostering progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our team’s problem-solving traverses the disciplines. The purpose of this paper is to educate our readers about a unique solution to emerging issues of water insecurity that are nested across and within systems who could benefit from the introduction of a personal water reclamation system, showcase our team’s entrepreneurial journey, and propose future directions that will this once pedagogical exercise to continue fulfilling its mission: To heal, to hydrate and to help bring safe water to everyone.