By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – November 20, 2015 – Comment

With California in the midst of its worst drought in 1,200 years, the state is finding hope from an influx of rainmakers determined to provide much needed relief for the over-taxed water supply. Before you start consulting your folk ritual books – I’m not talking about rain dances. Nor am I referencing scientists looking to “make rain” through cloud seeding. I’m not even speaking of the law-firm go-getters who earned less-than-favorable reputations thanks to the likes of Hollywood and John Grisham novels!

But, I am talking about rainmakers in one of the term’s more favorable definitions: a person whose influence can initiate progress or ensure success.

The rainmakers currently doing the job in California are made up of inventors, investors and entrepreneurs focused on increasing water supply and reducing water consumption… drastically. These three groups are working together to help make sure big ideas – effective, game-changing ideas – don’t just wither in the tank, but have the funding to be developed into viable technology and then put to work!

To put it even more powerfully, I borrow the words from a wonderful article on the topic, offered by the Founder of Next 10, “venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are catalyzing innovation.”

And this innovation-investment dynamic is driving impressive results, such as:

  • A 27% state-wide reduction in water usage since 2013
  • 137 new water patents in 2014 for water treatment technologies
  • Significant advances in water supply networks and efficiency measures
  • More than double the number of farmers using low-volume irrigation techniques since since the early 90s.

Moreover, with a recent poll indicating “nearly universal support for continued conservation and a strong willingness among Californians to cut water use,” venture capitalists are helping make sure the products and services corporate and private citizens demand to manage and conserve water are available.

Often we talk about the vital importance of grassroots efforts in solving water shortage issues and establishing solid foundations for future conservation. And there is no denying that Jane Smith taking shorter showers and John Doe switching to a water-saving dishwasher ARE making a huge impact by changing behaviors. However, it also takes the rainmakers like we’re seeing in California to attack major issues with innovations and technologies that are scalable, affordable, usable by millions and transferrable to one-day provide solutions worldwide.