LOS BANOS, Calif. (KGO) -- Two companies are teaming up to respond to the drought in California by turning the water in tomatoes into drinking water.
Los Banos-based Ingomar Packing Company, a tomato processor, is partnering with Botanical Water Technologies to make this happen.
Tomatoes are made up of about 95% water.
"We're capturing the condensate that comes from the tomato before they make the tomato sauce or the tomato paste," said James Rees, chief impact officer of Botanical Water Technologies. "So we put that condensate through our process, and we're able to create sustainable, clean drinking water."
Despite coming from tomatoes, Rees said the water doesn't taste like it.
"It actually has quite a soft palette," Reese said. "So one of the conversations we're having with people in the community is around 'How do we get access to the water?' and 'What does it taste like?' So this is a bit of an educational piece around where this water is coming from. And obviously, if it comes from tomatoes, people expect that it tastes like tomatoes, but it's quite delicious in taste."
The plan is for the Los Banos Ingomar site to create more than 200 million gallons of potable water per year by 2025.
"We are talking with a number of bottlers who may use the water to create a new sustainable brand," Rees said. "So, instead of bottlers, beverage companies, taking water from an aquifer to the community's detriment, they can actually use our water as a new sustainable source of water, and create a sustainable beverage or a sustainable soup -- so anything that requires water as an additive. In addition, by providing some of this water to environmental projects, what it does is allow communities to have more access to water from basins and aquifers."
Rees said they'll be working with nonprofits.
"We hope that we can actually get out into the community and help some of these disadvantaged communities gain access to some new water sources," Rees said.
"California is running out of water. There are a thousand dry wells in the northern parts of California. So drilling the well is not the solution anymore. We need to actually find alternative ways to find water and allocate it to the people in need."
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