THE WATER THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

BY MARIA THATTIL

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 “What can I get here that has no sugar, no carbs and is fat-free?”

Water?

Strike that, transform it, and picture me sitting in the same diner, only I want to know:

“What has no sugar, no carbs, is fat-free, comes from a brand new sustainable source, is completely harvested from fruits and vegetables and has the potential to change the world?”

AquaBotanical.

A bit of pop culture humour to serve as an appetiser for a more substantial main.

This is a particularly radical innovation I’m exploring on my blog but I’ve made an enlightening decision to get involved with a brand that is on the cusp of revolutionising access to drinking water.

At the start of July, I found myself re-evaluating my plans and goals for the year and had written in a private journal that I “wanted to do something of service that would positively impact people less fortunate than I.” Exactly two weeks later, I found myself in conversation with the Executive Chairman of Aqua Botanical, Terry Paule, and suddenly, a brand I had only just heard about had now ignited an interest and passion that was all consuming. 

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In case you missed the memo: the world is thirsty.

We forget to think about this from the comfort of our home where long showers and sprinklers are luxuries taken for granted, but there are people in the world who barely have access to drinking water. It’s something we all know, but not something we process consciously – because if we did, it would be at the forefront of our minds.

There are places in the world that are running out of water. Chennai, India has gone dry. People are waiting hours for water that barely meets their daily kitchen and sanitation requirements. They say the water crisis is the result of extreme drought, the city’s wetlands and water resources being encroached upon for construction, and a lack of water management by the government. The outcome has been devastating. With only the wealthier middle-class able to sustain packaged water, some of the poorer residents in the slums are forced to go with as little as 30L of water per household daily - compare that to the average 900L of water consumed daily in Australian households.

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And this is just one city. Mexico is going through ground water so fast that the city is sinking. Cape Town does not have water security. Up to 70% of Indonesia’s waterways are polluted. The World Resources Institute has highlighted that 33 cities in the world are facing extremely high water stress.

The social disparity is disconcerting, reflects deep-rooted inequality, and is something that brands selling all kinds of product - from lip liner to automatic vehicles - should be endeavouring to overcome. The world is aching for immediate action.

Fortunately, environmental consciousness is growing, with the next gen significantly more eco-friendly and knowledgeable on sustainable living than previous generations. And to continue the good news story, there are companies that are committed to healing the planet - from recycled packaging to reducing energy consumption. And then, there are others who want to completely change the game.

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AquaBotanical was born from a thought sparked in the mind of a Mildura-based scientist who recognised that significant amounts of water were being discarded when fruits were pressed for juice concentrate. Finding a way to filter and mineralise the aqueous liquid from the juice concentrate, AB is now the world’s first water sourced entirely from fruits and vegetables. Stocked in Woolworths Victoria stores nationally and a range of other supermarkets, the water is an Australian innovation with big ambitions.

With AquaBotanical at the inaugural Global Table event in September 2019.

With AquaBotanical at the inaugural Global Table event in September 2019.

The Botanical Water Foundation was then established to help bring this water to ease the water shortages in the poorest communities in the world. The foundation aspires to establish several botanical water plants globally. Currently, the BWF has established their first water treatment facility in Tamil Nadu, India, where they plan to produce 20,000L of water daily from the production of sugar. This water will be delivered free of charge to the people of Tamil Nadu who need it most.

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So, now what? How do you, as a consumer, support the cause? How can you, as a global citizen, contribute to giving back? Well, if you’ve gotten to this part of my article, I know that you care. If you’re reading this right now, I know that you want to be a part of the change. We are responsible for our every decision, and every decision makes an impact, right down to how consciously you purchase bottled water. Because the bottom line is, you could buy any bottle and blindly satisfy your thirst, or you could use your knowledge to make an informed, empowering decision and help to satisfy the thirst of the world. 

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All I know is, of all the billionaires and wealthy commercial enterprises in the world, it’s a home-grown Aussie start-up that is working on a plan to deliver trillions of litres of waters to people who are dying from their lack of access to it. And I’m truly so proud of what they’re doing.

It’s an honour to be aligned with AquaBotanical and you can be too. If you want to know more, and have the means to help, any contribution is appreciated.

Maria Thattil