Virginia-based co. lays out $1B initiative to build ‘water resilience’ in PR
With more than half of Puerto Rico still without water, a Virginia entrepreneur has proposed to President Trump and his administration a $1 billion initiative to prepare every home on the island for inevitable future hurricanes that will again leave the population without water.
“Tremendous amounts of money and countless man hours are spent delivering emergency water. And billions of dollars are being allocated to reconstruction in Puerto Rico,” said company CEO Judson Walls. “Now is the time to include water resilience in the rebuilding efforts.”
“Water is the most important commodity during a disaster, yet there are always delivery delays. Having a ready 40-120-gallon supply of fresh emergency water in every home would dramatically reduce the acquisition, logistics, and first-responder costs associated with disaster water,” Walls added.
“And for long-duration outages, it would reduce the spread of disease associated with lack of water for basic hygiene and sanitation,” he said.
Constant Water is a battery/solar-powered, backup water system that provides 40-120 gallons of fresh water, under pressure, throughout the home or business.
“A 120-gallon system would provide a family of four emergency water for 30 days,” said Walls. “And only 20 minutes on a portable generator can refill the system tanks when needed. Our system can provide months of emergency water easier and cheaper than current approaches.”
“We must change the dialogue from disaster response to disaster preparation,” said Walls. “No one responds better to a disaster than the U.S., but the response costs are always higher and the efforts less effective than if focus and funding were placed on preparedness.”
Soon after the hurricanes, Constant Water reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offer systems for near-term relief and long-term preparation, the executive said.
A number of relief organizations also contacted Constant Water. In all cases, they agreed the infrastructure damage on the island was simply too great; concluding future deployment was a better approach.
“Including water resilience with the reconstruction efforts under way, and that will continue for some time, is the right thing to do. We can prepare for the future starting now,” Walls said.
More than 80 million homes in the U.S. receive water from water wells or live in coastal counties at risk of hurricanes. More than 60 percent of Florida, the fifth largest population of homes on water wells, was without power during the recent hurricanes. And many public systems were damaged or contaminated as well. Texas had entire towns without public water for weeks.
“Being without water is not just an inconvenience,” said Walls, “it’s a health risk, and we can reduce both.”
“Absolutely, this is a bold proposal for a small business,” Walls acknowledged. “We can save lives in the future, and inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the Puerto Rico economy with this effort.”
“We’ll also contribute significantly to expansion of U.S. manufacturing in the process. There are ‘wins’ here for so many, but particularly the citizens of Puerto Rico. And we’ll happily partner with others to make this reality,” he concluded.