OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria was in Israel this week, and one of the events he attended was a conference on water. At the event, Mekorot, Israel’s water authority, shared its efforts to help countries around the globe meet the challenge of dwindling water resources, through technology innovation.
According to an article in the Jerusalem Post which covered the event, the OECD projects that by 2050 global water demand will increase by 55 percent, an increase Mekorot says may cost the world $800 billion in damages.
Mekorot has been able to achieve impressive feats in Israel’s water markets, having built the world’s largest desalination plants and wastewater facilities. Israel reuses 75% of its wastewater, by far the highest in the world.
This success has opened many doors for Mekorot internationally. The article quotes Mekorot Chairman Alex Wiznitzer as saying that the company is closing deals on hundreds of millions of dollars in projects in the developed and undeveloped world. In nearby Cyprus, Mekorot will build and operate two desalination plants that will supply almost half of the country’s drinking water, Wiznitzer said. He expects to close within days a $180 million deal to build a facility to filter the water of the La Plata river that flows near Buenos Aires.
Wiznitzer took it a step further, saying Mekorot’s work could help create contacts in Arab countries around the Middle East, which the United Nations has called the world’s most water-stressed region.”I don’t rule out that we will work in countries like Qatar, like Kuwait,” he said
Mekorot’s capabilities, along with those of a growing number of smaller Israeli water technology companies, are in high demand, said Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech. They benefit from being in a field that “lends itself to cooperation”, reported the Jerusalem Post.
The OECD supports Israel’s efforts: “The organization is interested in disseminating Israeli know-how and technologies to third world countries as part of an effort to deal with the global water crisis,” Gurria said in a statement.