A machine producing safe, clean-drinking water out of air and manufactured by the Israel-based company of Watergen was inaugurated on Wednesday in the Gazan neighborhood of Abasan al-Kabira as part of a pilot project. The machine, known as the “GEN-M,” is an atmospheric water generator (AWG) that weighs 780 kilograms and can make as much as as much as 800 liters of water per day.
Gaza’s main source of water is its coastal aquifer, but its water supply has been rapidly depleting over the last several decades due to over-extraction. The reduced water levels have resulted in saline water seeping in, further polluting the water in the aquifer. Over 90% of water from the aquifer is unfit for consumption, and as a result, Gazans have been forced to turn to the more expensive option of purchasing desalinated water from local desalination plants.
The GEN-M that was introduced to Abasan al-Kabira on Wednesday will be providing freshwater to the municipal building, and needing no special infrastructure but electricity in order to operate, the machine will be connected to solar panels providing the AWG with a source of power. The pilot is a result of cooperative efforts between Watergen, Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, the Palestinian Arab NGO Damour for Community Development and the Abasan al-Kabira municipality. The Kennedy Leigh Foundation is funding the pilot as part of the Arava Institute’s Track II Environmental Forum.
The Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) to the Gaza Strip had overseen the transportation of the GEN-M into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Head of the CLA, Major General Iyyad Sarchan approved the shipment of the GEN-M as part of a policy that seeks to prevent any further deterioration to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip associated with the enclave’s lack of fresh water.
The GEN-M unit provides Gazans with an inexpensive method to acquire freshwater by using the natural resource of air. Watergen’s patented, heat-exchange GENius technology contained in the GEN-M creates water by cooling collected air at its dew point. Subsequently, the water goes through physical, chemical and biological treatment followed by a mineralization process to maintain its cleanliness, tastiness and healthy quality. Each GEN-M unit contains an internal water treatment system and needs no infrastructure except a source of electricity in order to operate.
Watergen’s management said: “Responding in accordance with our belief that every human being, regardless of race, gender or religion has a fundamental right to clean-drinking water, we are helping some of Israel’s next-door neighbors gain access to freshwater, a resource that is lacking in Gaza. We hope that our provision of an AWG will help solve the water crisis and serve as a step forward towards mutual collaboration in the Middle East.”
David Lehrer, Director of the Arava Institute, added: “The introduction of Watergen into Gaza is not only a proof of concept for a cutting edge technology but a proof of concept that Palestinians and Israelis can do more than launch attacks at each other. We can, instead, work together to improve lives, solve humanitarian problems, build trust, and restore hope.”