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Australian State Water Ministers Join Water Mission to Israel

Three Australian state ministers and one shadow minister led an Australian high-level business delegation to Israel focused around management of water resources, water reuse and recycling, desalination, and clean technologies to combat climate change. The delegation also coincided with Israel’s International Water Conference – Watec 2007.

The Australian delegation, organised by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Israel Trade Commission, was led by Nathan Rees MP, New South Wales Minister for Water Utilities and Emergency Services; Tim Holding MP, Victorian Minister for Water; Craig Wallace MP, Queensland Minister for Natural Resources & Water; Michelle Lensink MLC, the South Australian Shadow Minister for Environment and Conservation. The delegation, which consisted of over 50 senior executives and industry leaders from the water industry, included leaders of five companies each with a market cap above $1 billion, among them representatives of Australian-based international mining giant Rio Tinto with a market cap of $100 billion.

Other companies and organisations attending included: CSIRO, GE Water, Hunter Water, Investec Bank, La-Trobe University, Melbourne Water, Multiplex, Plenary Group, Siemens, South Australia Water, South East Water, Sydney Water, Transfield Services, United Group and the University of Technology Sydney.

The trade mission, specifically developed for CEOs and senior management from business, government and academia, offered delegates both exposure to key Israeli industry figures together with high-level business meetings designed to introduce delegates to industry-leading business ideas and opportunities.

Commenting on the mission, Anthony Hollis, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s NSW Chief Executive Officer, said: “the fact that Australian State Water Ministers and senior government, business and research water experts from 4 states have joined the mission, evidences the vital importance that water and cleantech are playing in the Australian market. We expect this mission to promote mutually beneficial bilateral collaboration. The Mission also provided a rare opportunity for Australians to commemorate, at an official ceremony on 31 October, their soldiers who gallantly and successfully led the last charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beer-Sheba exactly 90 years ago.”

Over 200 group and individual meetings were organised with a cross section of Israeli business, academic and political leaders. The Mission included meetings with the following:

  • Ashkelon Desalination Plant [produces 100 million m³ of desalinated water per year, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world]
  • IDE Technologies [Pioneer and leader in delivery of sophisticated water solutions, working with state-of-the-art desalination technologies]
  • Shaf-Dan Sewage Plant [Israel’s largest waste-water plant]
  • Eilat Desalination Plant [Uses Sea Water Reserve Osmosis to produce potable water on a scale of 40 thousand m³ / day]
  • Netafim [World pioneer of drip irrigation]
  • Sapir [National water carrier pumping station]
  • Research Institutes, Technological Incubators
  • Watec 2007 conference and exhibition

Israel's Water Expertise

Situated in one of the world's most arid regions, Israel has been overcoming water shortages and desertification since inception. Using a foundation of academic excellence, a highly skilled workforce and entrepreneurial spirit, the country has succeeded in developing innovative technologies that increase water efficiency.

Highlights include:

  • Israel recycles 75% water after use. The second largest water recycler is Spain, at 12%
  • The world's largest seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant is located in Ashkelon, Israel and the country has an additional 31 desalination plants.
  • Israeli desalination firm, IDE Technologies, uses a reverse osmosis technology which produces one cubic meter of water for about 60¢.
  • Israel's low pressure irrigation systems helped achieve 70-80% of water efficiency in agriculture, which is the highest rate in the world.
  • Drip irrigation is used on 60% of an agricultural land in Israel, while only 6% is the U.S.
  • Mekorot, Israel's National Water Company, has transferred over 13 billion cubic meters of water from the wet northern region to the arid southern area of Israel in 40 years.
  • Israel produces 25% (500 cubic meters) of its total water consumption (2 billion cubic meters)