My husband Don and I became passionate about providing safe drinking water back in the 1980s. At that time our local monthly water bill warned pregnant woman and infants under the age of six months to not drink the water. Additionally we lived near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a designated Superfund site where 600 documented chemicals contaminated the local groundwater. We would regularly attend neighborhood meetings where the government warned us not to drink our tap water.
Because of these issues, Don and I developed a miniature water purification kiosk in Brighton in 1984. Built with the support of our family and friends, this kiosk took municipal water and produced high quality drinking water at an affordable price. Each location in the area was computer monitored and serviced on a regular basis.
When we opened our first location, we did not have plans to expand beyond the needs of our small community. However, we quickly discovered there were other areas of the country that also needed access to safe, affordable drinking water. Because of this national need, we created the Watermill Express business concept and have tied it to consistent giveback efforts.
Giving to a national cause
Our main focus with Watermill Express has always been – and will continue to be – providing safe drinking water. Since opening our first location, we have had the ability to donate millions of gallons of water, raise awareness about safe drinking water issues on a national scale, educate the public on the negative environmental impact of plastic single-serve water bottles and expand the business across the United States.
In 2016, we donated over 100 million gallons of clean water to the developing world through World Vision. And, this year, we launched the largest social media campaign for safe water awareness in the U.S. through our Clean Water Here initiative. These celebrities posted about clean water to social media on UN World Water Day (March 22) using the hashtag #CleanWaterHere, where we reached over 750 million people. Our goal with this campaign was to raise awareness of safe drinking water in the U.S.
Our passion for providing affordable clean water led us to open locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. We have over 1,300 locations across the United States and serve thousands of customers daily. We are continuing to expand, and our growth includes the implementation of our pure, clean Waterocks Ice concept.
Through the years, it has been rewarding to amplify our water and ice giveback initiatives in alignment with our business growth. We plan to continue to shape safe drinking water advocacy in the future through Watermill Express.
About the author: Lani Dolifka is the president and CEO of Watermill Express, the largest drive-up pure drinking water and ice concept in the United States, and a green alternative to single-serve bottled water. She is also the co-founder of Clean Water Here, a global movement originating in the United States to help people understand the nature and scope of the worldwide water crisis by promoting safe drinking water here at home.
Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Fallon Taylor. Have a great entrepreneurial story to tell? Email your pitch to Shannon Gausepohl at firstname.lastname@example.org.