Simple invention transforms former Raglan sparkie’s life

Raglan ratepayer and one-time electrician about town Jon Taylor reckons he always wanted to be a bit of an inventor – and his dream came true when he struck on an idea that can save people with water tanks big money.

His plug-in WaterSaver device simply cuts in when a tank’s pump runs continuously for 30 minutes, shutting down accidental leaks.

It can save those relying on stored water from having to pay for a whole truckload when supplies run out, Jon explains of the affordable off-the-shelf solution he describes as a “no-brainer”.

Now living in Nelson – but back here this week distributing WaterSaver pamphlets rurally and also checking on his rental property – Jon revealed he got the brainwave while working with local company Stendy Electrical for seven years.

When out and about he’d often see tanks lose valuable water from burst pipes or running taps, for instance.

In one case a digger had run over the main water pipe of a permaculture gardener, he recalls.

“All these people were dependent on water in some way – for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, flushing the toilet and often for feeding pets and livestock, gardening and irrigation.”

So Jon set to work in his Ohautira Rd garage, “thinking outside the box” and devising a prototype which took him in 2015 to the finals of the Fieldays Technology Innovation Awards.

That success allowed him to get funding and mentoring through the SODA Inc incubation programme. After moving down-country he also received funding from Nelson Angel investors for market research and production of a “minimum viable product”.

Since late last year the sparkie-turned-inventor has been working fulltime for his own company.

The three-year transition from garage to “proper offices” and shareholders is definitely a dream come true, he told the Chronicle. “I always wanted to be a bit of an inventor.”

While living in Raglan Jon also served briefly on the local community board – from late 2013 through to early 2015 – and as a DJ with Tractor FM. He was one of the four people who got ‘Rock-It Kitchen’ up and running.

Jon says he’s just a “handy” kind of guy who can do handy things.

He’s spent the past six months working on his marketing campaign, receiving “all positive” feedback.

Installation of the device – which works by plugging a tank’s pressure pump into the WaterSaver unit, then plugging that into mains power – is simple, Jon says, needing neither a tradesperson nor installation manual.

Currently available in New Zealand and Australia, the product sells for $249 through the company’s website.

Edith Symes