Company Mission

California-based AquaShares helps water authorities solve their tragedy of the commons with the world’s first online water savings market platform. Our proven market design process, streamlined allocation service, and web-enabled market operation together help agencies replenish local supplies by empowering farms, firms, and families to trade the water they save. AquaShares ensures environmental resilience, social equity for current and future generations, and economic efficiency for water users seeking flexibility for personal and business needs. We do so by adapting 10,000 years of perspective in how durable cultures have turned conflict into cooperation and scarcity into abundance.

Our Story

In 2002, a red Land Rover broke down in the African desert while transporting water to besieged Kalahari Bushmen. Stranded for days, running dry, its driver had an epiphany: rather than ‘rescue’ these bands happily thriving in an arid land, our thirsty ‘developed’ world needed to adapt their timeless indigenous !xaro system of internal exchanges. Further research by Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom showed such enduring, traditional self-organizing and rights-based frameworks to secure and restore marine fisheries (‘catch shares’) and fresh water (AquaShares). Back in Silicon Valley, the AquaShares team developed a way to not have to trade heavy physical water resources face to face and from place to place, but instead develop proprietary software to enable frictionless transactions of defined and fungible water savings credits, which since 2010 have anchored our cap-and-trade market platforms replenishing water supplies from California to Morocco.


Team

Matt Kennedy

Matt Kennedy

President & CEO

James Workman

James Workman

Founder & VP Business Development

Kai Mantsch

Kai Mantsch

Chief Technology Officer

Jessica Decker

Jessica Decker

UI/UX Specialist & GIS Developer

About Matt

Tapping 25 years of experience in applying smart technologies to solve customer challenges, Matt carries out the company’s mission to create healthy water conservation markets with local groundwater agencies and water utilities. Prior to running AquaShares, Matt was a general manager of a product group at SunPower Corporation, a leading U.S. solar product and project developer, guiding a team to achieve technical innovation of the world’s power infrastructure to improve global sustainability. Earlier in his career, he held business management and engineering roles in the aerospace and data networking industries. As an undergraduate with honors in mechanical engineering at Cornell, Matt then earned advanced degrees in business management and aerospace engineering from Stanford. Though tempted to become a rocket scientist in the sky, he instead embarked on a far more complex and satisfying exploration of the boundless realm and endless potential of water, right here on earth.

About Jamie

Jamie is responsible for developing and adapting AquaShares’ assets to meet demands from our public, non-profit and private clients. He draws on three decades experience as an investigative journalist, White House appointed speechwriter, award-winning author of several books, senior communications advisor under Nelson Mandela’s World Commission on Dams, and program director focused on natural resource conservation markets for water, wildlife, forests and fish. He graduated with honors from Yale, studied two terms at Oxford, and was visiting professor at Wesleyan and Whitman colleges. But he earned his real education by blowing up dams, releasing wolves, igniting wildland fires, guiding safaris, smuggling water, and becoming a father.

About Kai

From an early age Kai has custom-designed, built and managed software platforms for everything from e-commerce to high energy physics, and now harnesses a quarter century of tech experience so that AquaShares’ partners can more readily and responsively conserve our most precious resource. Beyond a degree in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Kai’s passion to build an equitable water market draws on several sources. As an award-winning filmmaker he documented how the indiscriminate draining or poisoning of the region’s waters devastated the farms and farmers in India. Living through drought in Texas and California further heightened his awareness of the urgency to relieve social tensions. Though trained in Apache wilderness survival, Kai seeks to ensure enough water so he and everyone else won’t need to use it.

About Jessica

Jessica brings a decade of unique experience combining work as a design researcher with a background in science communication. The result develops engaging, easy-to-use online tools in the service of community resilience and resource management. Her previous clients include renowned learning centers such as MIT, Cornell University, and the California Academy of Sciences, and she is active in many civic data projects such as Code for America, Google’s “Geo for Good,” and the Institute for Resilient Communities at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Before joining AquaShares, Jessica initiated a crowdsourced hurricane relief platform that scaled to 700 volunteers, provided aid to over 28,000 people, and gained national media attention. When unplugged from writing code, she enjoys exploring increasingly dusty back roads, dubious GPS coordinates, and obscure land use histories of the American West – each of which she is working to refresh.

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Affiliations

It's your water. Decide what it's good for.

AquaShares® is now available in Sonoma County.