The Water Entrepreneur

The Water Entrepreneur Podcast

The Water Entrepreneur podcast program features a series of interviews exploring the origin stories of startup founders, early adopters and innovation champions related to their personal, professional, technical, business, organizational and financial journeys. We will explore how the guests decided to get into the water business, who their mentors are, who inspired them to become entrepreneurs and how they selected a technology to develop from an idea to an invention and finally to a commercially viable innovation. You will hear how they raised funding for their company, selected markets to pursue, navigated organizational hierarchies and evolved as their company grew. They will describe their struggles and successes and explain why they are having the most fun of their lives.

To contact us to apply to be a guest on the podcast, please email

Sponsored by ASTERRA: the leader in remote Earth observation technology for the water industry, AQUARIUS SPECTRUM: an industry-leading supplier of innovative leak detection solutions, and IMAGINE H2O: envisioning and building solutions with the world’s best water entrepreneurs.

Meet your host Paul Gagliardo

Mr. Gagliardo is well known throughout the United States, in Europe and Asia for his defining work in the 1990’s on indirect potable reuse as a scheme to supplement the potable water supply in San Diego, California. He has pioneered the efficacy testing and use of new technologies in businesses that vary from energy conservation, hazardous waste remediation, solid waste resource recovery, water treatment, wastewater treatment, contaminant monitoring and strategic planning. He has authored over fifty technical papers on subjects ranging from low and high-pressure membrane systems, monitoring systems, UV disinfection systems, strategic planning and watershed management. He has given presentations on five continents and in ten different countries and has been the invited keynote speaker on multiple occasions.

During his twenty-plus years at the City of San Diego, Paul created and managed the Aqua2000 Research Center. This program focused on the testing of new technologies for use in the water and wastewater business. The Aqua2000 Research Center helped develop the membrane bioreactor system from a novelty to the de facto technology of choice for recycled water applications. Paul’s team developed performance test protocols used by the state of California to determine if systems can be used in specific potable water and recycled water applications. He prepared and submitted performance analyses to the California DHS for acceptance on over twenty new technologies.

Since leaving the City of San Diego he has continued to assist innovators in the development of their new products and help them become commercialized. Between 2009 and 2017 Mr. Gagliardo was the Innovation Director for American Water. He was responsible for identifying new technologies that could be incorporated into American Water’s various business enterprises. The IDP’s primary objective was to look for innovations that enhance American Water’s water and wastewater services, increase operational efficiencies, lower operational costs and position American Water for growth. He was responsible for screening over 250 companies and generating over $30million in operational savings. In 2009 he joined Imagine H2O as a judge and mentor and continues this work through the present time. After leaving American Water he started Gagliacqua, a boutique consulting company focused on advising water related startup companies. His work has helped over 20 companies identify markets, build a brand, refine their offering, document performance and understand the voice of the customer. 

Mr. Gagliardo is a registered engineer in the state of California and has a Master’s Degree in Public Health. He was appointed to the State of California 2003 Water Plan Update Advisory Committee and was instrumental in fund-raising for the successful proposition 50 Water Bond campaign.