Israel organized three events around the 7th World Water Forum to introduce Israeli water technologies to Korea’s water industry and infrastructure companies. An interview with Israel’s Economic Officer in Seoul Shay Feiler.
“Korean companies, such as Hyundai, Samsung and Posco, are building some of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the world,” says Shay Feiler, Israel’s Economic Officer in Seoul. According to Feiler, Samsung built much of Dubai, and these companies are undertaking water projects like desalination plants and others. Any connection for Israeli water technology companies in Korea has the potential to achieve business far beyond, and far greater, than the boundaries of the Korean market.
The 7th World Water Forum was an opportunity to present Israel’s water technology to Korean, and international, companies. The event is one of the most important international events in the water industry, and took place this month in Daegu, Korea’s third largest city. The Israeli Economic Office in Korea and Israel NewTech made the most out of this opportunity to open doors for cooperation between Israel and Korea in all that pertains to the water sector.
The activity centered around three events – the first of which was the signing of an MOU between the Daegu municipality and Israel to advance the cooperation in the water arena. The MOU was signed on the Israeli side by Shay Feiler, for Israel NewTech, and on the Korean side by Buseob Kim, Director General of Green Environment bureau.
“One of the objectives of the cooperation is to bring a substancial delegation from Daegu to the upcoming WATEC event in Tel Aviv in October,” says Feiler. According to him, the Korean companies were very impressed with the “Israeli water story,” how Israel went from severe water scarcity to the point at which the country is able to offer water to its neighbors.
The MOU signing was followed up with a seminar dedicated to presenting Israel’s water technologies to the Daegu water industry. The event was packed with over 80 representatives from water utilities from Daegu and the vicinity, Korean water industry companies such as Hyunda and Posco, as well as water professionals from around the world. A professional delegation from the Israeli Water Authority presented on Israel’s water sector structure, and Israeli water technologies. Economic Offider Feiler presented an overview of Israel’s water sector and spoke about the Israel NewTech program and the WATEC event.
“Korea is a very technologically advanced country,” explains Feiler. “They love technology and are early adapters. They were particularly interested in wastewater purification and desalination technologies, but they were also very attracted to smart water management technologies.”
Israel’s advancements in the water arena were recognized at the World Water Forum, in the political arena as well. At one of the ministerial round tables at the event, Oded Fixler, Senior Deputy Director General of the Israeli Water & Sewage Authority, presented with his Jordanian counterpart on the cooperation between the two nations. “Israel and Jordan have signed a historic cooperation agreement in the water arena,” explains Fixler. “Fulfillment of this agreement will funnel Red Sea water to the Dead Sea in order to stabilize the dead sea water level, jointly constructing a desalination plant in Jordan from which Jordan and Israel will buy desalinated water in the south, and establish a SWAP win win deal of water supply from Israel to Jordan in the north. Water professionals from Korea and the world were very impressed with the level of cooperation between Israel and Jordan, and with the scope of the project.”
The events in Korea culminated with a professional meeting with the management team of Seoul’s water utility. Seoul is Korea’s capital and its water system is quite advanced, and considered an example to the rest of the country. “For this reason any cooperation to emerge from this contact will have impact throughout Korea and beyond,” concludes Feiler.