1,000 Valley homes eligible for free clean water technology

Silicon Valley executive offers to pay to have innovative panels which convert sunlight and air into clean water installed at homes in Tulare, Fresno, Kern and Monterey counties

PALO ALTO, CALIF. – An Arizona company is offering to install its unique technology converting air and sunlight into potable water at 1,000 homes in underserved communities across the drought-stricken Central Valley.

Source Global, a public benefit corporation, dedicated to innovative drinking water solutions, is asking families in migrant communities in the counties of Tulare, Fresno, Monterey and Kern making less than $65,000 per year to apply for a free program to install its patented hydropanels at their homes. The counties were selected for the high numbers of communities lacking clean drinking water based on monitoring done by the California State Water Resources Control Board. Tulare County has the largest number of systems without safe drinking water, according to local nonprofit Community Water Center. The most common contaminants found in these water systems are arsenic, nitrate, lead, copper, uranium, and E. coli. Families wanting to apply for the program can do so at source.co/ccv.

The panels use solar energy to turn fans that draw ambient air into a hygroscopic, a patented water-absorbing material, that traps water vapor from the air, according to their web site www.source.co. The water vapor is then condensed into a liquid that collects in a small tank attached to the panel. Minerals are then added to filter the water and to provide it with the flavor most people are familiar with. The panels can be piped to deliver the water directly to a faucet or fridge dispenser.

Source Hydropanels operate entirely off the grid with no external electricity or traditional water infrastructure inputs. Multi-panel arrays are installed to serve the complete drinking water needs of families, schools, communities, and other applications in a fully sustainable way. This breakthrough technology can uniquely solve the drinking water crisis, especially in remote places like the Central Valley, which is facing drought along with water quality and infrastructure challenges.

“California’s Central Valley is on the front lines of the world’s water issues, with wells drying up, groundwater pollution rising, and towns running out of water. But as the climate crisis continues, more and more of us will face similar challenges,” Source’s fouder and CEO Cody Friesen said. “It’s clear that we can no longer rely solely on extracting our drinking water from the earth’s shrinking resources, packaging it in plastic, or treating and transporting it over long distances.”

The hydropanels are already being piloted in Allensworth to allow residents to taste the water and evaluate the technology, and residents are collecting water for their homes from a dispenser at the community center. Two hydropanels can produce 20 bottles of water per day, and enough drinking water for four to six people per year. Arsenic has plagued Allensworth’s water wells since 1966, according to a 2013 engineering report of the Allensworth Community Services District (ACSD). The community water system currently serves 156 connections on two wells pumping groundwater which have both contained arsenic levels up to 60 percent higher than state-defined safety levels for drinking water.

“We created Source to perfect water for every person, every place, including those who have no water in their homes, who are dealing with contamination, aging infrastructure, and shrinking water supplies or who simply want a reliable source of high-quality drinking water in their homes and are interested in living more sustainably. We’re excited to partner on projects like these to bring that mission to life across the globe.”

The project is being 100% funded through the one2one USA Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit which raises money for charity, thanks to a $7 million pledge from Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital, a venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, Calif. specializing in technology startups. The pledge is part of Palihapitiya and Social Capital’s ongoing mission to address—through donations and direct investment—the impacts of the climate crisis, including lack of access to safe, high-quality drinking water.

“Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right that has been denied to underserved and minority communities across California,” Palihapitiya said. “This health and inequality crisis has been exacerbated by the devastating effects of the current drought and the lack of renewable sources of high-quality drinking water in poor and minority communities at scale.”

One2one is partnering with Chamath Palihapitiya to manage the distribution of the pledged funds. The $7 million pledge may be used to pay for hydropanel installation, long-term service warranties, and community canvassing, all of which would be provided at cost.

California has been called ground zero of the climate crisis. Access to water is worsening each day due to drought conditions, with the Central Valley as the epicenter. In addition to the effects of the drought, the region’s water supplies are also experiencing contamination, with nitrate and arsenic levels five and six times above the safe drinking water limit, respectively.

“By leveraging technologies like Source Global’s transformative, renewable water system, we can even the starting line and give underserved families access to the safe drinking water we all need to survive,” Palihapitiya said. “I want to thank Source Global and one2one for their steadfast commitment to serving the underserved, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to bring clean, reliable, and renewable water to the communities that need it the most.”

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Source Global operates in 52 countries on six continents. Source is a registered trademark of Source Global, PBC. For more information, visit www.source.co.

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