While Israeli technology has had an enormous impact on dozens, if not hundreds, of fields, perhaps the impact Israeli innovations have had on saving water is the most important.
Israel more or less invented drip irrigation, a more effective way to water plants and crops while saving water, and has continued innovating since – today it is the world's technological leader in areas such as desalination and water recycling.
So it's no surprise that representatives from dozens of nations – including some with whom Israel doesn't even have official relations – are here to learn how to better manage their water economies.
The sixth annual WaTec (Water Technology) Exhibition and Conference drew thousands of people from all over the world who came to see Israel's “water miracle” first-hand - and to perhaps bring home some of that technology home, to countries where it is sorely needed.
Israel's water technology prowess developed, of course, due to the ongoing shortage of water in the country, and the need to squeeze the maximum out of every drop. As a result, Israel has developed dozens of technologies that ensure maximum use of water.
The list of Israeli companies that have contributed to the country's water expertise is very long, as are the areas they specialize in.
Drip irrigation (Netafim is a huge presence in the worldwide market), as mentioned, ensures that every single drop fulfills its purpose of watering plants and crops; Israeli valve technology (from Bermad and others) ensures that the no water is lost due to leaks or higher than necessary pressure; companies like Nirosoft specialize in effluent reclamation, making “used” water available to industry and agriculture; and Israel's Amiad builds water filtration systems to ensure a clean flow of water through supply systems.
These companies, of course, are among the largest in Israel's water industry, with annual exports of products and services in the tens of millions of dollars (Israel's water tech industry currently is worth about $2 billion a year).
But there are also dozens of startups that are working on the technologies of tomorrow – like TGE Tech, which removes sludge from sewage and turns it into fuel; Hydrospin, which has figured out a way to power devices using water flowing in a pipe; and CoolTek, which is working on the world's smallest on-demand water heating and cooling system.
And the visitors to WaTec have been very enthusiastic – and very impressed – regardless of where they come from. There were large contingents from Africa and Asia, as well as from South America – even from places where you'd think they have plenty of water.
Vietnam is one, known for its numerous rivers and lakes. But not all of that water is clean, a member of the Vietnamese group told Arutz 7. “We waste a lot of water and there is a lot of pollution. We really need help.” He said that this was his first visit to Israel, and that he and his group had toured some of the innovative projects here. “What you are doing with water technology is amazing,” the Vietnamese rep said, adding that “if we could have a tenth of the technology you have here we would be fine.”
A visitor from mainland China had much the same reaction. “For all its newfound sophistication and wealth, many parts of China are still backwards and do not have basic things like running water and proper sewer systems. There is much to do, and we believe Israeli companies can help us with these problems, thanks to your sophisticated technology.”
China is so impressed with Israeli technology that it is setting up a large Water Treatment Industrial Park to attract Israeli companies to set up shop and work on projects with Chinese companies.
There were also visitors from Europe, and of course the U.S. - and if you looked hard, you could see visitors from places like Indonesia, India – even Pakistan and, believe it or not, Dubai!
When it comes to water, politics step aside – and at WaTec, Israel generously opened the door to its sophisticated water technology to any and all who need help.