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  • Writer's picturePeter Yolles

Echo River June 2023 Update

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

In this issue:

  • New Blog: California Drinking Water

  • Portfolio Updates

  • Industry News

  • Indigenous Water News


New Blog: California to approve recycled drinking water In June, I toured the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, which receives the output from Santa Clara County’s treated wastewater facility next door. Using a treatment sequence of three proven purification methods: micro filtration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide, the Center already produces water that is clean enough to drink.

Currently, though, it is piped to a groundwater infiltration pond, where it drains into the groundwater for future use. This groundwater recycling process is called “indirect potable reuse.” The world’s largest indirect potable reuse system is located in Orange County, California and uses that same three-step process to produce enough clean water for 1 million people per day.

It’s “indirect” because the treated water does not go straight into the drinking water pipes of the system, which some people think is icky. The ick factor has prevented California’s water utilities from recycling and reusing even more because it’s hard to find places to recharge groundwater. This is all about to change however. [ MORE ]


ERC Portfolio Updates

Click to watch the video

Echo River Capital Updates

  • Recognized by Private Equity Wire / Ethics Grade as the best small ESG climate-focused fund.

  • Summer intern: I’m very pleased to welcome Yoanna Lazarova as ERC’s summer intern who is focused on building the pipeline of investment opportunities. Yoanna has been focussed on water sustainability during her undergraduate and graduate programs at Yale, most recently graduating from the Yale School of the Environment with a focus on Water Science, Management and Policy. Welcome Yoanna!

Industry News


Indigenous Water News

Two stories in June underscore the challenges that tribes have in securing rights to access water. In the first, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 decision that the United States does not have a responsibility to provide the Navajo with access to Colorado River, even though the river borders their lands. This decision is just the latest court ruling that strips water agreements that tribes had made previously with the U.S., in this case from an 1868 treaty.

In the second, an in-depth study of Arizona court decisions by ProPublica and High Country News found that the State of Arizona, through its water department, courts and elected officials, systematically denied water access and water rights to its many tribes. Arizona creates “additional hurdles” demanding unacceptable conditions and concessions from the tribes. As a result, many reservations go without running water. In one case, a new $128 million medical facility on the Navajo nation sits empty because they don’t have access to enough water to fill its tank. More than 2 million people in the U.S., many on native lands, still lack access to clean, reliable water supply, according to Dig Deep’s Close the Water Gap report. This legacy of unequal water access continues and I hope that advances in decentralized water technology will one day support communities with abundant clean water no matter the policies and politics.

Dilkon Medical Center, which sits closed due to lack of water.


Please send any questions or comments to and (415) 203-0432. Here's to a future of water abundance.

– Peter

About Echo River Capital Echo River Capital is an impact venture firm advancing water technology for global impact based in San Francisco. Echo River invests in emerging technologies to digitize, decarbonize and decentralize the water cycle to improve human health, the environment and climate resilience. Peter Yolles, General Partner, is the former co-founder and CEO of WaterSmart Software, which was acquired in 2020. Peter adds strategic value with 30 years of operating experience in the water industry along with a Yale MBA in finance and a Master's in water science, policy and management.


Peter Yolles

General Partner


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