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6 top Israeli tech firms solving water problems

Water-from-air. Watergen’s water atmospheric generator, called Genny, which generates 30 litres of drinking water a day. It is a plug-and-drink device. It requires electricity only. It is ideal for homes and offices as alternative to bottled water, the firm says.
Water-from-air. Watergen’s water atmospheric generator, called Genny.

Israel is located on a stretch of a desert and 60% of the country is arid. Rainfall is not constant. This resulted in a constant pursuit for new technological solutions to manage water.

Israel has a national strategy for water, said Mr William Sarni, founder and chief executive officer, Water Foundry, a water data analytics and visualisation tools firm.

He says that Israel had no choice to be an innovator.

“This is a culture that embraces innovation,” Mr Sarni told Digital Water Israel Virtual Expo on 11 November. “This has made Israel a water tech powerhouse.”

There are many Israeli technology firms who are helping water firms cut water losses, manage operations and make evidence based decisions.

Also, the technologies help water firms to automate their water audits. This is by comparing volumes of water treated to volumes released from fire hydrants for firefighting and other community uses.

Water firms always look for ways to reduce water losses and improve their operational efficiency and customer service.  They would achieve that with a single software that uses different data sources to give insights across the firm.

In addition, water firms could get a central event management technology. This management technology empowers water firms to run their networks proactively and efficiently. As a result, water firms can cut water losses, improve service and cut costs.

Further, an Israeli firm has changed the way water firms check leaks for drinking and waste water. The firm has a technology detects underground water and uses that to find non-surfacing leaks from drinking water pipes.

One more, a firm has extended the list of known water sources. It is creating drinking water from humidity in the air. It says that its devices solve drinking water scarcity in any location.

Bermad

This firm designs and manufactures water and flow management technologies. These include hydraulic control valves, air valves and advanced meters.

Bermad serves bulk water supply systems, water distribution network grids, waste water pumping stations and delivery lines. The products help improve water usage, maximise energy efficiency, cut costs, and protect water supply and distribution systems.

In 2008, Bermad helped a Mexican desert city, Camargo, solve water shortage. Local water firm Junta Municipal sought Bermad’s advice. First, the water firm installed Bermad’s electromagnetic meters in its line to understand what was going on.

With the help of the micrometers they found out that the water firm was losing 52% of its water.

In addition, Bermad analysed the system using sensors to identify critical areas which needed more pressure and which had too much pressure.

In less than two months the water firm was able to supply all its customers with water daily. Further, it registered 1,000 additional homes.

“They were able to save water, they were able to save energy for pumping water,” said Mr Ofir Marx, global marketing manager, Bermad.

Junta Municipal water firm spent $74,007 (Sh8 million) in the project.

“The city’s ROI [return on investment] was less than one year,” Mr Marx said. “While the total investment was equal to $10 (Sh1,090) per home.”

Hydrantech

It has a technology that helps water firms to automate water audits. It compares volumes of water treated to volumes released from fire hydrants and other community uses.

Mr Ariel Zang, business development director, Hydrantech, said that a smart meter tracks consumption at the customer’s end. This helps water firms track and control revenue for the services they give, he said.

Hydrantech upgrades a standard fire hydrant with an intelligent metering device that automatically records real-time events. It reports backflow, water theft, permit validation, maintenance and equipment tampering.

“Water utilities and fire departments can now be systematically notified of a potential water security threat,” Mr Zang said. “Events that can negatively impact revenue and potentially inhibit operational continuity of the fire hydrant network.”

Hydrantech has worked with the city of Rosh HaAyin in Israel. The city’s water firm suspected that water was being stolen from its hydrants. Also, it was worried the theft increased the danger of contaminating drinking water.

But they had no evidence or a system that could confirm the water theft.

The city requested Hydrantech to help solve the problem. Hydrantech gave a technology that sent alerts to notify the water firm when a hydrant is opened.

“After the system installation several water thefts were detected,” Mr Zang said. “And the water utility felt that they were finally in control of hydrants usage.”

IOSight

It has an end-to-end data management and analytics platform for water firms.

The system enables continuous monitoring and detection of contamination of water sources and sends alerts in real-time.

Mr Guy Meiri, head of business development at IOSight, said that IOSight’s algorithm-based analytics decision support systems ensure quality and safety. In addition, it reduces expenses by detecting anomaly, predicting early fault and optimising operations.

Still, IOSight has another system known as iShed. It is an integrated system for water quality monitoring in rivers and watersheds.

In 2017, IOSight jointly with Israel’s water company Mekorot installed iShed at the Jordan river and Sea of Galilee watershed.

It gives reliable early warning alarms on contamination affecting water quality in Jordan River and Sea of Galilee. These are major water resources in Israel.

Dr Meir Rom of Mekorot said that iShed had given the water firm critical ability to ensure surface water quality. This is done through continuous monitoring of the Sea of Galilee watershed and alerts on suspected contamination in the watershed.

Takadu

This firm has a single software that helps water firms reduce water losses and improve operational efficiency and customer service. The software uses a water firm’s different data sources to give insights across the firm.

Takadu can detect and report events such as hidden leaks, water loss, burst pipes, faulty equipment, pressure and water quality.

Mr Amir Peleg, founder and chief executive, said that Takadu Central Event Management empowers water firms to manage their networks. “Resulting in dramatically lower NRW [non-revenue water], improved service continuity and lower costs,” he said.

Takadu’s central event management transforms the water firm’s multiple data sources into a single dashboard. This dashboard is accessible across the firm.

Takadu uses data analytics and machine learning to convert raw data generated by a firm’s sensors and systems into knowledge and insights.

Mr Peleg said Takadu’s system is a strategic decision-making tool. The system bridges organisational silos, improves communication across departments leading to operational efficiency and high customer service, he said.

“Takadu helps to align people, processes and technology by prioritising assignments, repairs and investments, while providing insights into network performance,” Mr Peleg said.

Utilis

Utilis uses satellite-based data to detect underground soil moisture and infer or prevent damaged infrastructure.

This technology detects underground water and uses that to find non-surfacing leaks from drinking water pipes. This is an assessment tool for pipe replacement analysis.

The firm serves two main markets – water firms and transportation infrastructure – to improve their performance and efficiency.

Water firms often fix a pipe only when a leak surfaces which occurs after a long period of water loss.

Pipes fail at the weakest point, which is not solely dictated by age, Mr Elly Perets, chief executive, Utilis, said.

“This makes predicting leak locations in buried pipe networks difficult,” he said. “Utilis has been successful using our technology to save water, money and resources for over 200 utilities worldwide.”

In addition, Mr Perets said the firm is using the same technology to monitor sewage pipelines and roadways.

He quotes a research titled, ‘Satellite data complement traditional leak detection and repair programs.’ The study was done at New Braunfels Utilities, USA.

Mr Perets said that the study found that Utilis could identify 4.1 leaks per crew day compared with the traditional method of 0.06 leaks per day.

“This is a 70 times improvement in the program’s efficiency,” he said. “The satellite program was shown to have a 95 per cent lower cost per leak found.”

READ – Water firms lose almost half of water they produce valued at Sh9b

Watergen

It provides what it says is a game-changing water-from-air solution. The firm uses humidity in the air to extract clean, fresh drinking water.

Watergen’s water atmospheric generators (AWG) is a plug-and-drink device. It requires electricity only.

Its home or office device, called Genny, can produce up to 30 litres of drinking water a day. The medium size device, Gen-M, produces up to 800 litres of drinking water a day. Its industrial, large-scale generators can make as much as 5,000 litres water a day.

Mr Zach Fenster, vice-president for business development, said that in 2021 the firm will start selling consumers and office units.

“Up until now we have had devices which produce between hundreds and thousands of litres per day,” he said. “We have seen what the consumer base is really asking for and we are bringing to the market a product called the Genny.”

This year, Watergen gave two Cambodian hospitals one atmospheric water generators (Gen-M) each. Both hospitals are now providing up to 800 litres of clean drinking water to staff and patients every day.

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