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Harvested From Humidity: Hawa Water Is Introducing A Sustainable Way Of Producing Drinking Water In The UAE With its innovative approach, Hawa Water eliminates one obvious element of drinking water production: relying on existing water bodies.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

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Hawa Water
Gregory Sauvage, Jaufre Rouanet and Nabil Hamade, co-founders, Hawa Water

With the UAE's desertic terrain and limited water resources, there have been plenty of innovative endeavors over the years in trying to ensure sustainable yet consistent access to drinking water. It is an area that the government of the country too has been actively invested in by introducing initiatives such as the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036. To put matters further into context, it is perhaps important to note that thermal desalination is the most often used technology to make seawater potable in the UAE. But with limited freshwater sources, there has been an increasing need to connect desalination technologies to renewable energy options.

Based in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, Hawa Water's business model provides one such solution. "Hawa Water, born in the UAE, is harvested from the humidity of the air and delivered as bottled drinking water in a returnable glass bottle," explains General Manager Jaufre Rouanet, who co-founded the startup along with Gregory Sauvage and Nabil Hamade. "Respecting the environment and protecting the water resources of the UAE, Hawa is fresh water from a sustainable abundant source: the atmosphere, with a strong commitment to eliminate plastic waste, and reduce the carbon footprint of the simplest resource of earth required for life."

With this approach, Hawa Water eliminates one obvious element of drinking water production: relying on existing water bodies. It is also a concept that very neatly aligns with one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. "Our team, with a diverse background, is united around the objective of making a long-term pledge to the planet: providing fresh water without adding waste or brine," adds Rouanet. "We are clear when looking at all the various water brands coming from 'the other side of the planet,' or from desalination plant factories, we believe in decentralized and decarbonized local water generation from the atmosphere."

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What this approach has resulted in is the production of zero sodium, pure, and alkaline still as well as sparkling water, that are sold in glass water bottles, thereby ensuring zero plastic waste. "Hawa Water is not a concept anymore," says Rouanet. "Production has started in our factory in the UAE, and after a long administrative journey, Hawa is now distributed in the UAE by our local partner, United Foods, and we are now available online. We have also been gratified by supporters who helped us during our journey to bring Hawa to reality, and we are now looking at opening the doors to hotels, restaurants, and specialized organic shops to bring Hawa within the reach of everyone in the country!"


Having worked on developing the idea for two years, and subsequently been funded by the co-founders' circles of friends and family, the Hawa Water team expects the startup to fare well in the months to come. However, Rouanet remains wary of the challenges that lie ahead. In particular, he is attentive to the fact that many restaurant and hotel owners may not necessarily want to immediately switch from their previous water suppliers' contracts. But he remains hopeful that the spirit of the nation itself will ensure that more and more clients will be welcoming of Hawa Water in the near future. "The UAE is a unique hub of culture and diversity of profiles, and throughout our journey, we have been able to engage with so many different individuals sharing our view of sustainability and engagement," he adds.

As such, this would explain why the Hawa Water team participated in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program. "Hawa is at a stage where it needs a booster!" Rouanet explains. "MBRIF is the booster we expect for reaching out to our clients, to the world, for giving the opportunity to Dubai visitors, residents and nationals to taste the water from the sky. We trust that MBRIF will help us share our vision with opinion leaders and visionaries of the country: this is a solution to water scarcity and opening a new horizon for a local decarbonized water. Life is in the air!"

Related: As Remote Working Becomes The Norm, Dubai-Based Letswork Aims To Offer Go-To Workspaces Outside The Office

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.


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