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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Israelis, Canadians discuss water technologies

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Last month I began a series of columns dealing with Canada, Israel and water.  One of the challenges I laid out was the development of joint opportunities for Canadians and Israelis in this area.

For most residential consumers, the key concerns about water fall into the following areas: is the water I am receiving clean and safe; is the water I have used being taken away without any problems; how much am I being charged for these water-related activities?

 Someone else usually worries about how the water is extracted, purified and shipped to the consumer, and how the water, once used, is removed, cleaned and returned to nature.

The Israel Economic Mission to Canada, which aims to foster trade and investment between Canadian and Israeli companies, recently hosted a delegation of six Israeli water-technology companies in Toronto. The companies, recruited by the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, met with leading Canadian engineering firms that offer significant services in industrial water, water infrastructure and water treatment. The Israeli companies also participated in a business meeting with the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA).

The Israeli companies presented water-technology solutions from communications systems and control valves to filtration, desalination and advanced dripline and piping systems. At the OCWA meeting, it seemed clear to me that attendees were well aware of Israel’s leadership position in the area of water. They were there to gather more information about the specific offerings each company could bring.

Nick Reid, vice-president of strategic partnerships for the OCWA, articulated the business needs – could these solutions demonstrably extend the life of existing water infrastructure; could they reduce the amount of energy required in the extraction, purification and shipment of water and the removal, cleaning and return of the water to the environment; could this be accomplished through increased automation or improved technologies, with the end goal of driving out cost and/or improving quality?

Representatives of the Israeli companies had a mission to identify and influence decision-makers who were either industrial users of water or municipal providers of clean-water and waste-water services. Some of the Israeli companies have already entered into discussions as a result of the meetings over the two days they were in Toronto, and the Export Institute has remarked on the success of the delegation. Ran Yehezkel, head of Israel’s Economic Mission to Canada, said, “Because water technologies have broad applications across many sectors from industrial use to municipalities, targeting the right players to meet the delegation was a difficult choice given that southern Ontario is a leading hub of water innovation in Canada, if not North America. 

“The meeting with OCWA was very beneficial to the delegation to understand the complexities of water management in Ontario as well as business making decisions. At the Israel Economic Mission, we will continue introducing Israeli water technologies to the right decision-makers to bring cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solutions to Canadians.” Next month, some ideas on how we can help Israeli water companies communicate their value and to finalize business in Canada.

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