Global Investment Forum: It's time for low-cost quality water, says Mekorot CEO

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on June 3, 2021

(Shihab/Khaleej Times)

Eli Cohen stresses on how innovation can help conserving the precious resource.

“The conference has generated a great deal of interest, both in the Gulf states and in the US, even though a year has passed since the Abraham agreements were signed with Israel. Now that the excitement is over, we come to the real thing,” said Mekorot CEO Eli Cohen, among the prominent figures who took part in the Global Investment Forum held in the UAE.

“Now that the waves of tourism have passed and coronavirus is ending, we are getting down to business in light of the peace agreements, and the feeling is that a company like Mekorot can contribute to a stable, economic and business peace between the countries,” Cohen said. One of the hot topics that came up at the conference was energy efficiency and resource conservation, with water being the most important resource in the region due to the damages caused by global warming. “Israel has reached an optimal situation in the field of water production and supply,” Cohen emphasizes. “There is currently no shortage of water for drinking and for agricultural use. We also supply water to the Jordanians and can supply water to any region. Until a few years ago, water problems were a topic of discussion between countries. This is no longer relevant. We now can provide solutions for this issue anywhere in the world and also solve the problems of the agriculture industry. It is high time for low-cost quality water, and we can provide it.”

Mekorot is the national water company of Israel and was founded in 1937. It is a government company that operates under the Ministry of Infrastructure, Energy, and Water and the Ministry of Finance, providing 80 percent of the drinking water in Israel and 70 percent of overall water consumption in Israel. “We specialize in saltwater desalination, which is found primarily in our region and the Arabian Gulf, and we are internationally known experts in integration, meaning that we know how to take water from anywhere, improve, channel, and transport it to the tap. There are not many companies in the world that know how to do this, and everything is under supervision and control related to water quality, testing, and cybersecurity for facilities.”

In recent years, Mekorot has become a technological company and is at the forefront of innovative developments in the industry, which further raises the great interest that is already being shown globally. “We have an entire unit that deals with innovation at the product level, from advanced engineering solutions through the establishment of companies and financial investments and collaborations with Israeli and international companies,” says Cohen. “We are pleased to collaborate within a small framework or at the level of an investment fund which we are considering developing. Mekorot is a world leader in big data, energy management, water quality, and cyber protection with innovative developments that work well and have proven themselves in the field. Mekorot recently entered the field of communications with the ability to transmit high-speed Internet over a fiber-optic network installed within the National Water Carrier system. “This saves investors a great deal of money and time in developing large-scale national communications infrastructure,” he explains.

Cohen points out that many countries in the world, and the Gulf countries, in particular, have expressed great interest in the innovation that is coming out of Israel, opening the door to regional cooperation. “An example of the challenges and successes of the local water sector can be found as early as 60 years ago,” he adds. “In order to make the Negev flourish, water had to be moved from the north to the south, and for that reason, the national carrier was established. Today, infrastructure management has become more technological, and due to global warming, there is a need for reverse water carriers, meaning the taking of water from desalination facilities and supplying them to arid areas. Mekorot workers are patriotic, and providing water to the citizens of Israel is our most important mission, but we must also provide for our neighbors as well."

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