Alarming diagnosis inspired drinking water business


When Richard Todd’s wife, Yolanda, was diagnosed with breast cancer, her doctors suggested she drink alkaline water to support her immune system.

But the options available in Las Cruces were expensive and not easily accessible, Todd said. In El Paso, the couple discovered Water Tree, a company based in Houston that provides various products to customers for purifying their water.

The couple purchased a filtration system, installed it under the sink in their home and soon became proponents of the product. Todd went so far as to open his own Water Tree store in Las Cruces in 2022.

“This is my retirement,” Todd said. “Making people happy, helping them have good water – that's what I'm here to do.”

Water Tree Las Cruces is located on N. Main Street in an unassuming suite tucked between several other businesses. The store’s purpose is given away almost immediately when customers walk up and see the water dispensers outside the entrance.

Inside, customers will find a long sink with six different types of water they can purchase, including pure, premium, magnesium and mineral.

Todd explained that his filtration system, set up in the back of the shop, purifies city tap water. New customers will likely get an electrolyzer demonstration from Todd, showing the impurities in city tap water compared to his alkaline water.

Todd also explained that the Water Tree filtration system customers can install in their homes differs from on-the-counter or faucet systems, which likely use electrolysis to increase the pH levels. Instead, Water Tree’s system purifies the water and then increases pH or adds minerals by filtering the purified water through a mixture of natural materials.

“Your body is intended to have a certain amount of minerals and food and everything else in order for you to work right,” he said. “So as you partake of good water that has good pH, your body's going to go, ‘wow.’”

Since he opened his doors, Todd said people have brought him samples of the tap water they get at home or various bottled waters they drink to test with the electrolyzer.

“You can buy bottled water of all different kinds with different pH’s and everything else, right? The question is, how good really is the water?” Todd asked.

He said only one person had water come out as clear as his, using a similar at-home filtration system.

If people do not wish to install the full system at home, they can purchase the various levels of alkaline water Todd offers at the store. Customers bring their water jugs and fill them with their desired water at a set rate. And on days the store is closed, customers are welcome to use the taps outside the building.

Todd described himself as self-taught when it comes to building things and working with his hands. He renovated the inside of his shop himself, and custom-rigged the water taps on his own. He credited his architect father ,along with the 20 years he spent troubleshooting weapon systems in the U.S. Air Force, for his knowledge.

He underscored that he is retired, but opened Water Tree Las Cruces to meet the needs of his wife, who is in remission, and others in Las Cruces.

“I'm not going to promise you a miracle because it's not miracle water. It's here to help. Everyone is different,” Todd said. “It's just like some drugs help some people but they don’t do a thing for others. It's no different.”

Leah Romero is a freelance writer based in southern New Mexico. She can be reached at

Water Tree, electrolyzer demonstration, treated water types