One of the benefits of living in a “developed” country is a more consistent access to basic necessities, and a greater and privileged opportunity to pursue our goals and aspirations. As society continues to move forward with the development of innovative technologies and solutions, the floor for the “standard” quality of life rises as well. This progress is a good thing, but it also blinds us to what factors lay the foundations for the good lives we lead. Those factors include the essentials and privileges of life, like shelter, infrastructure, and clean water.
The universal need for clean, drinkable water cannot be diminished by the release of new technologies, as human beings have a biological requirement to intake clean water to maintain survival. Water might seem easy to find, since three fourths of the Earth’s surface is covered by it, but water that is suitable to drink and use in daily life is a different story. This is why water collecting and filtering technologies have always been a key part of technological progress, starting with digging wells to reach clean groundwater, to the aqueducts developed during the days of Rome, and today, the use of various filtration techniques to ensure the public always has access to decontaminated drinking water.
With such necessity comes lucrative business opportunities, and the Canadian water company H2O Innovation has emerged as one of the leading water companies in the world. Winning the Water Company of the Year Award at the 2020 Global Water Awards, H2O Innovation became the first Canadian company to ever take home this honour. This award is judged by a panel of experts, as well as leaders in the industry, which is why it classifies as high recognition in the business of water filtration.
With such necessity comes lucrative business opportunities, and the Canadian water company H2O Innovation has emerged as one of the leading water companies in the world.
Founded by Frederic Dugre in 2000, H2O Innovation was originally based in Quebec City before establishing offices in both British Columbia and Ontario, and even expanding into Spain in the early 2010’s. Dugre was 26 at the time, and he gave two reasons for entering the water industry. First, he had just heard on the news about the e-coli contamination that resulted in the death of 10 people in Walkerton, Ontario. He was shocked that this could happen at the time, in a country as developed as Canada, and felt a calling to ensure tragedies like this would not occur again. Second, coming from a background in the mining industry, this incident opened his eyes to the “true” nature of water; it is a commodity that is much more essential to life than any other mineral, that will continue to retain its importance no matter how the economy changes. With these two reasons in mind, he decided to start his own company, with no experience in the business whatsoever.
H2O Innovation actually started as a small company offering maple syrup filtration technologies, but with its acquisition of Darv-Eau Inc in 2000, it officially entered the water industry. While it took some time to take off, H2O Innovation has made small, smart acquisitions to gain access to different filtration technologies and wastewater management facilities throughout the years, capped off by the acquisition of U.K. specialty chemicals company Genesys in 2019. With all these acquisitions, H2O Innovation is now a highly integrated player in the water industry with three pillars of business: water technologies and services, focused on designing water and wastewater treatment systems; specialty products, such as maple syrup equipment, and chemicals and products designed for the water industry; and operation and maintenance, dedicated to client service after the installation of technologies.
One of H2O Innovation’s key differentiators is its use of membrane filtration technology. Membrane filtration is actually a commonly used technique in the maple syrup industry, used to get the highest purity syrup possible. Applying some of those same concepts to the water industry, H2O Innovation implements membrane filtration in its systems to provide a unique and effective way to filter water for drinking purposes in municipal areas.
With strong revenues of $134 million in 2020, and a steady backlog of new projects, H2O Innovation has officially established itself as a major player in the water industry. As long as we keep washing our dishes and using our toilets, there is little doubt that H2O Innovation will continue to experience steady growth and profit, alongside a meaningful social impact, from the business of water.