Dare I make my first green tech blog prediction for 2011? It is this: technologies and applications for managing water quality and consumption will find more backers and more real customers. Which means you'll read more about them here in this column. Increasingly, electricity efficiency and water efficiency will vie for our attention.
On the leading edge of that trend is TaKaDu, which is a software as a service (SaaS) offering coming out of Yehud, Israel, that water utilities can use to monitor water infrastructure. The SaaS hook is the usual cost-effectiveness and rapid deployment options that one might expect, which is a big deal for publicly funded water utilities that are fighting for budget dollars.
I really don't need to look any further than my local paper for evidence that water infrastructure is a big deal, even to average citizens. Last year alone, my local utility jacked up the rates an astonishing 21 percent and it is preparing to add another 5 percent over the next 12 months. While that particular situation is very complicated and involves more than a little small-town politics here in Bergen County, New Jersey, it is indicative of the rising consciousness worldwide that we haven't paid enough attention to our water infrastructure. My town is suing over the rate increase although, truth be told, Americans probably don't really pay for the true value of fresh water. A recent ITT research study really underscores why this is important, given our country's aging infrastructure.
Back to TaKaDu, which is a service that detects leaks, bursts and water network efficiencies. Its latest financing comes from Emerald Technology Ventures; existing Giza Venture Capital and Gemini Israel Funds have also kicked in some more money.
The company is two years old, but already it has managed to attract some very high-profile attention: It was named by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer 2011. Plus, it has some actual customers including Thames Water in the United Kingdom, Sydney Water and Yarra Valley Water in Australia, Wiener Wasserwerke in Austria, Evides Waterbedrijf in the Netherlands, and Hagihon in Israel. Hmmm. No mention of U.S. work being done. I hope that is just because its U.S. customers are secretive, although I fear it is because far too few water utilities are working on this problem yet.