After reading about Schauberger’s work, I took my quest to the worldwide web—this was probably around 1999, plus or minus—and somehow came across the website of a company in Canada named Water Revitalization, Ltd. They were, and are today, the North American distributor for a product called Grander® Water, a water treatment technology named after its inventor, the Austrian naturalist Johann Grander.
I was (and remain) fascinated by this technology. The ideas at the heart of this technology are along the lines I proposed previously as being associated with a more feminine science. Grander was not a trained scientist or engineer, but a very intuitive person and a careful observer of nature. He owned a service station in the Tyrol region of Austria before he retired early to follow his creative desires.
The story is published, so I’ll be brief with it here. As brief as I can be. Grander’s thought system was so unique to his observations of the world that it doesn’t readily fit into the vocabulary or “models” we all have in our minds about what the world is, or how it works. He began by building a therapeutic magnetic roller to help his wife with her back ailments, for which he received a gold medal at an inventor’s fair in Vienna. Later he built various generators in his garage, and then began working with what he called a magnetic motor. This was a rotary device that contained magnets with coatings of various minerals—I really don’t know the details—that was intended to produce a form of electricity that would be harmless to nature, and would not shock or hurt people.
As part of his research process, a portion of the circuit he used for the generator was a basin of water. Concerned that the current he was passing through the water may have been harmful to it, he began to study the water under a microscope—and more importantly the bacteria in the water—to see if there were any deleterious effects. He found that the bacteria appeared to be responding to some changes in the water, and also observed that the housecat demonstrated a marked preference for the water in the garage than the water in the house. In this way he said he was “led” to water.
Grander came to call water “a cosmic substance” and said that water receives, stores, and carries “information” from the cosmos that is beneficial to life. He said that the minerals in the earth, used in his generator, resonate with different forms of information from the cosmos, and that healthy water is a carrier of that information to living organisms. There are obvious conceptual resonances here with the work of Rudolph Steiner, as it relates to the principles of biodynamic farming, and to Viktor Schauberger as well—though Grander himself was not familiar with Schauberger’s work or writing.
There is nothing in what I’ve written thus far to describe Grander’s work as “scientific”, except for the fact that he clearly formed hypotheses, and tested his ideas hundreds if not thousands of times, and used microorganisms as his “instrument” for evaluating the condition of the water produced by operation of his magnetic system—a method used by biologists today. The method therefore, was certainly scientific in the pure sense of the word, even if his starting point was not the theories of modern chemistry or physics. Regardless, he eventually discovered that water treated by his generator produced similar effects in other water that he set in containers next to it, without the two waters’ physically mixing. He discovered this by observing the transformations in the behavior of the microorganisms in this proximal water, and again, by observing his cat.
These observations led to the actual product that the Grander® Water company sells worldwide. It is a sealed container full of water treated directly by the generator, through which other water passes. Through resonance, the secondary water receives “information” from the former. There are no electrical connections to the product of any kind, and it appears to work for decades (at least) without resupply or replenishment.
There are countless questions begged at this point, but I’m going to save them, and their answers, for another post or two. For now I want to stick with my personal experience. When I first discovered this technology, my question was: does it do anything?
To this end I traveled to Austria, sometime around 2001 or 2002, and toured several industrial facilities that were using the technology to reduce or eliminate the need for chemical treatment programs in their cooling water systems. One was a company named Isosport, a leading manufacturer of the plastic polymers used in competitive snow-skis, another was a Voest Alpine steel mill, a third was a semiconductor manufacturing facility, whose name now escapes me, and the fourth was Geberit, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. All of them showed us the data from their cooling water systems before and after installation of the technology, described their direct experiences with process improvements in their facilities that were not always captured by the laboratory data, but were obvious to operators of the systems involved, and were gracious enough to give our group a guided tour of their facilities.
When I returned to the United States, I wanted to see the results firsthand, so I did a test of the equipment in the cooling water system of a hockey rink near my home. I took water samples from the rink’s cooling water system to a local laboratory for chemical and microbiological assessment before and after installation of the Grander® Water system. The results were obvious, not only in the laboratory reports, but in the general smell and appearance of the water. It was astonishing. I had basically dropped a stainless steel canister full of water treated by Johann Grander’s magnetic motor into the return basin of the cooling system, and in six weeks a complete transformation of the water therein had occurred. But what had actually happened?
The basic idea is that modern water treatment programs “kill” water’s inner/information properties, and this results in a degeneration of the water’s ability to support a thriving, beneficial microbiological community. The sludge and biofilm common to industrial systems is thus ultimately a consequence of water that has been robbed of its life-giving information properties. Leaving the claims of Grander® Water aside, this outcome—the putrefaction of the water’s biota due to improper handling—is exactly what Viktor Schauberger bemoaned as the loss of quality in the environment due to a loss of water’s vital qualities.
With the help of a friend and colleague, I formed a corporation to turn this into a business venture, and subsequently employed the Grander® Water system on three or four other small commercial-industrial sites with cooling water systems, with similar results. It goes without saying that finding sites willing to try this system was quite difficult. My colleague and I made presentations to engineers at probably fifty companies, attended six or eight trade shows, and called probably two hundred companies on the phone, and literally couldn’t give it away. We never once (maybe literally once) received a phone call from the so-called “green building community” despite attendance at several of the early USGBC (US Green Building Council) trade shows. It’s understandable, given the nature of the technology, but it’s also symptomatic of the mindset we were working within. People had no idea how to respond to this. It was frightening to some, delightful to others. Some became upset, or angered even. Some called us snake oil charlatans. They told me this was a scientific impossibility. Some said they couldn’t attach their own reputation to it, but they hoped we did well. Others said, “oh yeah, I’ve heard of that…”
We were ahead of our time and old news all at once.
There’s risk in departing from convention, and in this case, we were advocating for a holistic approach that suggested fostering better conditions within an industrial water system would enable bacteria to regulate themselves. This required taking one’s hands off the wheel, so to speak, and foregoing the conventional biocidal chemistry regimens. The notion that nature can regulate itself when beneficial conditions are maintained—that a partnership with natural processes could actually be deployed for the benefit of an industrial water system—was obviously anathema to the status quo. But it worked.
In the next post we’ll start to explore the various references and scientific ideas I found along the way—both esoteric and conventional—that supported the operation of the Grander® devices, which again, are literally stainless steel canisters full of water. That’s all it takes apparently, to show that our modern scientific understanding is profoundly disconnected from the natural processes at work in the heart of living systems…