Michael Mirilashvili: Solving the Global Scarcity of Clean Drinking Water through Revolutionary Technology

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor water sanitation is the number one cause of illness around the world. At least two billion people consume water contaminated by faeces every day, putting them at the mercy of deadly diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, and polio. Moreover, water supply systems everywhere are ceaselessly challenged by pollution, climate change, population explosion, and urbanization.

No society, from rural African areas to metropolises like New York, London, and Beijing, is immune to the scarcity of clean drinking water. And as terrible as the crisis currently is, it will continue to aggravate over time—WHO warns that at this rate, half of the world’s population will face water stress by 2025 unless drastic changes are made.

Michael Mirilashvili
Michael Mirilashvili
President & CEO, Watergen

Fortunately, the preeminent businessman, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili, who originates from the Republic of Georgia in the former Soviet Union and now lives in Israel, has a vision and a technology to fully solve this problem. He oversees many big businesses and holds several concurrent responsibilities today, but even with all these, his great focus and energy is dedicated first and foremost to his role as President and CEO of Watergen. Watergen is an Israel-based company that has developed a revolutionary technology for atmospheric water generation (AWG)—that is, to make clean, high-quality drinkable water from a universal source: The air all around us. 

Watergen’s Atmospheric-Water-Generation Technology is a Game-Changer for the World

According to WHO, the lack of safe drinkable water is a daily emergency for one in three people globally. Almost all remote communities and densely populated cities don’t receive safe, potable water from taps today. Most importantly, water scarcity is most acute for the poor. Given that WHO estimates that the necessary drinking water infrastructure worldwide may cost 6.7 trillion USD by 2030, we need a different and practical approach to solve this challenge.  

As an experienced and internationally successful business leader and philanthropist, Dr. Mirilashvili is providing the world with a new approach to guaranteeing clean water access. He knew that clean drinking water is in fact the most precious resource for human beings, and that the crisis is severe and worsening daily. Given the extent of the problem, he understood that only a ubiquitous source of water and a totally new way of delivering it could lift us out of drinking water scarcity and into drinking water plenty. Watergen, he determined, was the only solution that could provide that revolutionary change. So, he took complete responsibility to direct Watergen towards eradicating the world’s drinking water problem. “As the leader of Watergen, my goal is to solve the critical problem of drinking water scarcity that exists in the world today, and to guarantee to every human being the right to clean drinking water without fear of contamination and sickness,” he states. 

Watergen’s range of commercial products are endowed with an internationally patented GENius heat-exchange technology that enables every single person to make clean and drinkable water easily. “Our technology enjoys three critical advantages that no other company can even come close to: Electrical efficiency, drinking water quality, and drinking water production across a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels,” Dr. Mirilashvili explains. 

Watergen’s products are affordable, easy-to-use, and environmentally safe, making it unparalleled in the global marketplace. Its broad range of commercial products are designed for households, schools, commercial centres, residential buildings, hospitals, factories, small villages, and off-grid settlements. Moreover, it even provides mobile water-from-air products so that anyone can create water in cars, trucks, emergency response vehicles, trains, and in all moving vehicles. 

Almost all nations practice a centralized model of water distribution today. While this makes governance easy, the aging and corroding infrastructure poisons our water. During emergency, natural disasters and crises, this decrepit system has proven disastrous. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic perfectly reveals the dangers of depending too much on centralized and complex systems. Watergen’s drinking water-from-air solution fixes that problem—all its products are decentralized, independent, self-reliant and give private individuals as well as communities the opportunity to create their own water on-demand from anywhere. 

Additionally, Watergen’s products have an added benefit: Because water is created directly where it is needed, there are no plastic bottles and containers used to transport it. Today, people are losing faith in the safety of tap water, and so, the consumption of plastic bottled water is rising. About 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and more than 90% of these are not recycled. This is a global catastrophe with tremendously negative impacts for our planet. Additionally, Watergen also eliminates the need for carbon-intensive logistics processes that deliver these plastics everywhere.  

Watergen is active in more than 60 countries today, creating clean drinking water-from-air for everyday situations and crises alike. So far, it has assisted particularly dire situations worldwide. A few examples: Its devices were deployed when monsoons threatened Kerala, India; in the only paediatric cancer ward in the Gaza Strip; in an orphanage in Uzbekistan; and in partnership with FEMA and the American Red Cross during hurricane response in Florida and Texas. 

A Passionate Humanitarian at Heart

Dr. Mirilashvili has a storied record of successful businesses and exits, but he is a passionate humanitarian at heart. He deeply believes in helping his fellow man and lives this commitment daily by leading diverse humanitarian and social initiatives. This ethos comes from the profound education given and behaviour modelled by his parents and grandparents, and the great moral teachings of the Jewish religion. 

Dr. Mirilashvili speaks movingly about the great fortune growing up in a family tremendously committed to give back to the community. His family was a part of a strong community in Georgia, where Jewish and non-Jewish people alike would come ask his grandfather for help. He grew up listening to stories of his grandfather’s immense kindness, generosity, and compassion. Even after the people would receive their request, his grandfather would worry privately amongst the family about whether what they had asked for was enough – would it last?

After his grandfather died, it was Dr. Mirilashvili’s grandmother who continued his legacy of giving. Dr. Mirilashvili remembers people coming to her gate and asking for assistance. As a child he would ask his grandmother to give him the money so that he could give it to the people at the gate, but she taught Dr. Mirilashvili that this is not the proper way to give. Instead, she would invite them into the privacy of her home, feed them and send them on their way with food, in addition to providing them with the requested funds in hand.

Dr. Mirilashvili’s father also made a great impact on him and the model of philanthropy that he follows every day. During the Civil War of Georgia in the late 80s and early 90s, Dr. Mirilashvili’s father joined him in Saint Petersburg, where Dr. Mirilashvili had already lived for some time. By this time, Dr. Mirilashvili had many businesses in Russia, and a great number of Jewish and non-Jewish residents alike came from his area of origin in Georgia to Saint Petersburg to flee the violence. Dr. Mirilashvili’s father asked him to hire as many of these new arrivals as he possibly could, even though many were not equipped with the necessary training. When Dr. Mirilashvili pointed this out to his father, his father insisted that they should be hired anyway! At his request, Dr. Mirilashvili did so. 

One of the greatest Jewish scholars Maimonides taught that there are eight levels of charity, and that the highest level is to give a person their own work. But Dr. Mirilashvili observes that his father went even one step further and created a ninth level, because the people he brought to work in the companies became so important to the companies’ success that today it is not clear who is more indebted to whom: The people his father brought or the company itself. These workers have become irreplaceable pillars of the businesses.

Experience taught Dr. Mirilashvili that success isn’t about making money and even that it is not something that one has complete control over. Instead, he has come to understand success as making a positive impact in the society. Over the years, he has recognized the crucial importance of treating people with dignity and respect, especially those under his purview. So, he has nurtured a strong bond with his employees, viewing them as a second family that shares successes and hardships.  

In the same vein, Dr. Mirilashvili is deeply committed to his humanitarian values in business. “I see my leadership in Watergen as a huge business opportunity, but more importantly as an opportunity to solve a global problem that threatens the whole world and humanity,” Dr. Mirilashvili explains. In this way, Dr. Mirilashvili’s mission to provide clean water to people without the fear of infection or disease is a deep moral and religious duty. 

In parallel with this global mission for good in mind, Dr. Mirilashvili is tackling a different global challenge as the owner of ‘Vertical Field’ (VF), an award-winning vertical farming start-up. Rising urbanization is prompting us to develop smarter ways to grow, deliver and consume food crops and VF is working to achieve just that. “VF’s soil-based farms let you grow crops even when you don’t have acres of land to plant. You simply set up one of their containers and bring fresh produce directly to your restaurant, supermarket, or home,” he explains. Essentially, VF can grow over 200 types of crops, improve harvest, and bring helpful benefits like cleaner air, waste reduction, and chemical-free agriculture into the urban ecosystem. 

Finally, Michael is also involved with an Israeli company ‘Nanosono’ that has developed a unique anti-microbial nano-technology capable of eliminating harmful microbes, including the coronavirus. Now, it is currently deploying this material in essential equipment like masks, gloves, wall-paint, cosmetics, clothing, and many other life-saving applications. 

A Strong and Unwavering Commitment to Support Humanity

Considering the global water crisis, Watergen is an extremely important development. Moreover, its unique technological design and electrical efficiency make it a globally and practically scalable solution. It gives people a life-saving opportunity to easily create fresh water out of thin air. One of the greatest advantages is that its products are affordable, lightweight and plug-and-play, so, they don’t need any extra infrastructure or pipes. Each machine can independently provide an unlimited source of fresh water, without harmful plastics and expensive infrastructure. 

Thanks to its revolutionary benefits, Watergen is seeing immense growth and is operating around the world. Its portable consumer unit—the Genny—will be commercially available later this year. “Imagine being able to put the Genny anywhere in your home or office, accessing clean drinking water from air, available whenever you need. This is the future, and it is just around the corner,” Dr. Mirilashvili states. 

A passionate humanitarian like Dr. Mirilashvili sees endless possibilities to serve humanity. His willingness to help others, participate in real-world problem-solving and help improve the world through business is a rare yet necessary trait. 

“This is just the beginning. Soon, we will be presenting additional technologies and innovations which will serve humanity and the future of our planet. Big surprises are coming on the horizon—to be announced,”  Dr. Mirilashvili sums it up.