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Water Today Title May 30, 2024
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Colorado based Innovative Water Technologies™ is dedicated to researching and developing products for water treatment and purification in response to every need

“After 25 years in the water/wastewater business I received an email from a little girl in India: I drink water every day...Because I have to...It makes me sick. Those 3 lines changed my life forever.”

-- Jack E. Barker, Founder and President of Innovative Water Technologies

Interview with Jack E. Barker, Founder Innovative Water Technologies™

By Suzanne Forcese

WT: Your life changed forever when you received a 3-line message from a little girl in India.

Barker: Those three lines hit me like a ton of bricks, I immediately knew what I was going to do, I was going to dedicate the rest of my life to helping our global community in accessing safe drinking water. This was the beginning of Innovative Water Technologies, Inc.

WT: Please give us an overview of IWT.

Barker: After a couple of years of R&D and setting up the business, we now have several products that are designed to get people safe drinking water, anywhere in the World. We specialize in membrane ultra-filtration treatment technology.

Our systems are used for USA public drinking water systems, humanitarian projects, NGO’s, military, government, and private industry. Typical international projects include hospitals, schools, and even complete villages.

WT: Innovative Water Technologies was the winner of the Coolest Thing Madein Colorado in 2022. Congratulations! What did this honor (among all the other honors bestowed upon you) mean?

Barker: It is nice to be recognized for our innovations and hard work, but the most rewarding part of our work is when we see the innocent children (and adults) get access to SAFE drinking water for the first time and know that our products will be transformative for the entire community.

WT: And you have done that in 38 countries and territories with over 1000 projects!

Barker: I did a lot of research into the World Water Crisis. Quite frankly it was embarrassing to me as a water professional, the gadgets that people are distributing around the World and calling them water projects. While I applaud anything anyone is doing to try to help, I knew there was a better way.

I identified many factors that would have to be incorporated into the perfect drinking water solution and came up with the SunSpring Hybrid.

WT: Give us a snapshot of the SunSpring Hybrid.

Barker: The SunSpring Hybrid is a 100% solar and wind powered drinking water system that is self-contained and secure. There are no consumables. It has 4 USB ports for charging phones with battery storage so the system can be used day or night, rain, or shine.

The SunSpring Hybrid produces up to and exceeds 20,000 liters of safe drinking water per day, for up to and exceeding 10 years.

For the SunSpring Hybrid all we need is a fresh water supply and sunlight/wind and we are in business.

I have personally traveled to over 40 countries, helping with installs and training, emergency response trips to Nepal, Mexico, Haiti, Philippines, and the US. I have done humanitarian projects in too many countries to mention, installing our equipment in schools, hospitals, office buildings, orphanages, and even complete villages. In many instances the trips were not safe, there were travel advisories, but I went anyway and loved every minute of it. I have over 140,000 pictures in our files and can tell a story about each one.

WT: Please briefly describe the water filtration systems used in disaster relief and international development.

Barker: I chose membrane ultra-filtration as the core treatment for our systems. we also use stainless steel pre-filters, so there are no consumables. The membranes automatically backwash themselves from 1 to 24 times per day and the stainless-steel pre-filters can be taken out, cleaned and reused for the life of the system. The membranes and pore-filters will last for 10 years plus.

All our systems are designed to meet and exceed the requirements set forth by the USEPA for Public Drinking Water Systems. It is our honor to be able to distribute this quality to anyone in the World.

WT: Are there other systems that IWT recommends in disaster relief?

Barker: WallSpring, is a drinking water system that hangs on the wall and can treat up to and exceeding 40,000 liters per day for up to and exceeding 10 years. This system is designed for areas that already have a water system with at least 30 psi of pressure and grid power.

IWT Responder was designed with Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response in mind but can be used in many other situations. The IWT Responder is in a welded aluminum enclosure that has a raw water pump, strainer, a WallSpring, a pressure sustaining valve, an interior led light, 4 port USB charging for cell phones.

We also have designed a portable water bottle cleaning, sanitizing and rinse station, the Bottle Buddy, that is also used to fill 1 to 5 gallon water jugs.

WT: The reach of IWT is very wide and diverse. What motivated you to focus on emergency response?

Barker: One of my main focuses is for emergency response. Typically, emergency responders' approach to drinking water is the costly and unsustainable practice of hauling in bottled water. Not only is this at a ridiculous expense, but the water has to be hauled in, stored, hauled again and then distributed. Often the bottled water is wasted, as it does not even reach the people in need. Not to mention the mountains of plastic waste created by bringing in bottled water.

Our products can be brought in, set up within hours, and treat the water on a demand basis. Depending on the situation, we have a product that can fit just about any situation.

WT: You have noted on your FB page that “The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be particularly active.” How are you offering to help governments and organizations?

Barker: There is nothing we would like more than to work with FEMA, USAID, and all emergency response organizations. We have the technology and products. To properly respond, we must prepare. So, they need to place orders now to have the equipment they need for when the time comes, and it will come.

We can take orders and ship to anywhere in the world or we can take orders and store the equipment to send out when there is a disaster, we could even be under contract to deliver, set-up and operate the systems if needed.

We offer free training at our manufacturing facility in Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA or we can come do training at your facility.

WT: Of the myriad stories you could tell our viewers let’s look at Puerto Rico as an example of past mismanagement and how you are correcting course.

Barker: From my own firsthand experiences, the first things people need is power and drinking water. In Puerto Rico we have 11 SunSpring Hybrids. All have been installed by NGO’s and ROTARY Clubs. None by the US Government. The response by FEMA in Puerto Rico is to send bottled water, tens of millions of liters every event, drop it off and hope it gets distributed. In the past several years millions of liters of expired bottled water have been found on abandoned runways and in warehouses. They were never distributed.

My plan for Puerto Rico is a 10 year disaster preparedness plan. We can strategically place 1000 (or 100) SunSpring Hybrids (or WallSpring and IWT Responders) throughout Puerto Rico. The people can even use them on a daily basis for SAFE drinking water. Once the systems are installed, they are ready.

This could be completed at a fraction of what is currently being spent on each Hurricane.

WT: Closer to home, in Canada we have an embarrassingly high number of remote communities on long-term water advisories. What solutions can you provide?

Barker: We have several different solutions available for a wide variety of situations. Whether the source is groundwater, surface water or GWUDI, we would love to help. Since we are the manufacturer, we can produce a custom solution for these communities with no middleman, saving money.

WT: Can you give us some idea of the sorts of solutions you already have available?

Barker: There is the WT UF/RO Combo: for water that has a higher hardness and TDS (up to 2500) and other contaminants such as nitrates, fluoride, arsenic, heavy metals, etc. We have designed an RO system that pretreats the RO with a UF membrane, then you have the ability to blend UF water back in the RO permeate, for the perfect drinking water quality. These systems are currently available in 2000 to 20,000 gallons per day (gpd).

We manufacture packaged plants from 5000 to 200,000 gpd. These are skid mounted drinking water plants that can have simple controllers or PLC. We can also add pre-filters, strainers, disinfection, continuous chlorine and turbidity analyzers.

We also make complete pre-manufactured drinking water plants (small buildings). These building can be designed from 5000 to 200,000 gpd and typically have sinks/countertop, treatment, pumps, continuous analyzers, heat, electrical. They can even be solar and wind powered.

Many projects we do, we call "Turn Key Projects", where we design, manufacture, deliver, install, start-up and do onsite training. Depending on the location, this is always an option.

WT: Partnerships are a big part of your mission -- what partnerships are on board with you? Are you looking for more partnerships?

Barker: We are always looking for partners. The World Water Crisis needs to be addressed with actual drinking water technologies, not gadgets.

One of our favorite organizations we work with the ROTARY. They are bunch of like minded individuals that are out in the world wanting to help. We have also worked with several NGO’s around the world and would love to be the “Technology Partner” for anyone.

We would also like to partner with Governments, Tribal Leadership and anyone that wants to do a SAFE drinking water project.

I start and end every correspondence with “Let’s do a water project.” I sincerely mean that. The more we do, the more people we are helping. Since IWT started, we have averaged over a water project per week. Some have taken years to get going, but we stay with you and see it through till the end. Some just call and order systems.

WT: Moving forward...what's next?

Barker: It's all about marketing. When I first started Innovative Water Technologies, Inc., I told everyone it was my “Field of Dreams”. If I build it, they will come. I may have miscalculated that; it takes a lot of work. Our business is based on trust, partnership, and a sincere desire to do what is right.

The main vision is to help the people that cannot help themselves or think that there is no help out there for them. Safe drinking water should be available to everyone and with our products and team, we think we can make a World of difference.

We are a small business located in rural Colorado, USA. We have systematically built our business from the very first project to what it is today. We currently have a 24,000 square foot manufacturing facility on 22 acres of land, with plenty of room for expansion. Our focus has and will always be on our customers and the consumers that are drinking our water.

I love what I do and look forward to waking up everyday and coming to work. I always say the next phone call can be the one we have been waiting for, a big project that will make a huge impact.

We can be reached by phone at our office at 719-254-4426, e-mail details to Info@innovativeh2o.com, or can call or text me directly on my cell at 719-469

6807 anytime. We can also set up zoom calls and we invite anyone to visit/tour our manufacturing facility.


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