Life & Culture

Israeli water tech: A valuable resource

Trade attaché Noah Shani says astute investors value Israel’s water tech market


Here in the UK, filling our kettles and running our baths are second nature. We repetitively complete these acts every day without contemplation and regularly complain when it rains. But it’s worth asking — has easy access to water distracted us from its true value?

Global water shortage is a prevalent and ever important issue. According to WaterAid — a charity that improves access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation — 11 per cent of the global population has no access to safe water and around 2000 children die each year from conditions caused by contaminated water.

But water issues affect developed economies — as well as Third World countries.

People are said to be wastefully overusing natural resouces (including water) at an unsustainable rate, according to a report by the United Nations.

Water usage more than doubled the rate of the global population over the past century.

The need for water solutions is urgent — and Israeli companies have a pivotal role to play

Clearly the need for water solutions is urgent — and Israeli companies have a pivotal role to play.

Astute investors will recognise the lucrative potential of companies that specialise in water technology. Given the current global water demands, this industry is set to boom even more. It’s an actively developing and attractive sector.

Israel has coped with water shortage for more than 60 years. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Israeli entrepreneurs, world-renowned for their creativity and start-up business acumen, have become global leaders in the water arena.

You need look no further for an example than award-winning Israeli company, Netafim.

The Israeli company, which specialises in deep irrigation technology that improves water, energy and agricultural productivity, won the 2013 Stockholm Industry Water Award last week.

Netafim, which is able to increase crop yield by 50 per cent while using 40 per cent less water, developed its technology in the 1960s.

Today it boasts more than 2,000 employees at 13 plants in 11 countries.

While the story of Netafim is impressive, drip irrigation represents just one aspect of water technology in which Israel has distinguished itself.

Israeli companies have also assumed “front-runner” status in waste water treatment systems — just look at award-winning Mapal Green Energy which this year opened a London branch.

The statistics speak for themselves. A massive 80 per cent of Israel’s municipal waste-water is successfully treated and reused every year. Israel’s closest competitor, Spain, recycles 12 per cent of its waste water, whilst Europe and the United States reclaim 1 per cent.

But the most interesting sphere lies in desalination, the process that removes salt from sea water.

Israel boasts the largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the world at Hadera, but new ground-breaking technology promises to propel Israel ahead of its competitors.

The importance of Israel’s water industry and its steady stream of game-changing technologies can be felt significantly further afield.

Next month, the Water and Wastewater Management Conference 2013 (WATEC 2013), one of the world’s premier water and energy events, will be held in Tel Aviv. Israeli companies will have the opportunity to show international business executives, policy makers and leading researchers how they have developed a reputation as pioneers in water solutions, environmental technologies and renewable energy.

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