Water Innovation in Massachusetts: 31 Startups and Counting

9/27/12Follow @gthuang

I sometimes wonder why there aren’t more entrepreneurs working on the really big problems of the environment. Well, it turns out there are, and many of them are right here in Massachusetts.

An intriguing event has come to my attention: The Environmental Entrepreneurs group (E2) has organized a discussion about water issues and innovation at noon tomorrow at the Nixon Peabody law firm in Boston. Speakers include Matthew Nordan, vice president of Venrock; David Goodtree, co-organizer of the Symposium on Water Issues in Massachusetts; and Jon Devine, director of the clean water solutions team at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Sustainability experts have been talking about an impending global water crisis for at least a decade, in feature articles from Nature to The Atlantic. Already over a billion people lack access to clean drinking water, and far more lack adequate sanitation. Agriculture and other sectors are also threatened.

But perhaps there is hope. I’m hearing that there are at least 31 startups working in the water industry in Massachusetts (click to see larger image), plus other engineering firms with projects in wastewater treatment and other areas. The Boston area is tops in the number of EPA grants received in the country. And there is talk of becoming the “next Silicon Valley of water.”

We’ll see about that, but in the meantime, let’s see what these startups can accomplish.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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