12 of Romania’s largest water utilities visited Israel, as the cooperation deepens and Israeli water companies conduct successful pilot projects in Romania.
Romania is a very promising market for Israeli water technology companies, and Israel NewTech and the Israeli Economic Office team are following through on a very well thought out plan to create real business opportunities for Israeli companies in Romania. Following a previous visit by Raja Constanta, Romania’s largest water utility, to Israel in December 2016, a delegation of 12 leading water utilities just completed an intensive week-long tour of Israel.
“The President of Raja Constanta is also the head of the water industry association in Romania, which includes all 42 Romanian water utilities, 41 of which are state-owned,” explains Matan Safran, Commercial Attaché to Romania. “The successful visit last year, from which Raja came away very impressed with Israeli technologies and eager to integrate them into Romanian water systems, paved the way for this larger delegation.”
Mr. Mirel Serbanescu, V. President, RAJA Constanta, saw this delegation as an important stage in a growing cooperation: “As the representative of the Romanian delegation to Israel I am pleased to say that this is not the first time I am visiting Israel in order to see and learn about the country’s technologies in this sector. I and my fellow colleagues from the delegation had the pleasure to get familiar with new cutting edge technologies and with technologies which are already in use in Romania. This visit represents the core of this strong relationship which will surely translate into mutual collaborations, exchange of information and innovative ideas.”
In the year that passed between the two delegations Israeli companies engaged in important pilot projects in Romania, one of which was Utilis, which has a solution that analyzes satellite imagery to detect leaks and non-revenue-water, and implemented a successful pilot which is about to be expanded.
The Romanian market presents a unique opportunity: out of a population of 22 million, 10 million Romanians are not connected to any municipal water or wastewater systems, a situation which clearly needs to change, and quickly. The EU has granted Romania a budget of billions of Euros to upgrade its water infrastructure by 2020.
“Large projects are conducted after a tender in Romania,” explains Safran. “But pilots of under 50,000 Euros can be done without a tender. Romanian utilities conduct pilots, understand the potential of the technology, and if the experience is successful, of course once the tender is published the company who supplied the project has a very fair shot at winning the larger tender.” Of the 12 utilities which participated in the delegation, 8 have a total budget of 200 million Euros for water projects in 2017-2020, so the potential is substantial, according to Safran.
The delegation visit began with professional tours of Tahal, Mekorot and Amiad sites. Then a seminar took place in the Tel Aviv Dan Panorama hotel, in which a cooperation agreement was signed between the Romanian Water Association and Jerusalem’s water utility, Hagihon. At the seminar Oded Distel, Head of Israel NewTech, presented on the Israeli case study, and seven Israeli water technologies also presented their solutions. The delegation continued on to presentations by Haifa’s water utility, Mei Carmel, and a visit to Eilat, including meetings with its water utility Ein Netafim and a visit to Mekorot’s desalination plant in Eilat. The delegation concluded with a seminar at Hagihon in Jersualem, which included meetings with 12 water technology companies. All in all the Romanian delegation met with three water utilities and 23 water technology companies and startups.
Leakage detection and water efficiency – the reduction of Non-Revenue Water – are at the top of the list of the technologies Romanian Water utilities are most interested in, according to Safran. He and the team from the economic office and Israel NewTech will now follow up and engage in intensive matchmaking to continue the positive momentum and create more business opportunities for Israeli companies. The team is also working to bring a large Romanian delegation to the next WATEC event. “At WATEC the Romanian utilities will be able to see all the Israeli water technologies and companies, I know they’re very interested in doing so,” concludes Safran.