“There is a an almost uncanny fit between India’s needs in the urban water arena, and what Israeli companies are able to offer,” Abraham Tenne, VP Desalination at Israel’s Water Authority said recently, following a visit to India.
The visit was held as part of an agreement signed in February between Jerusalem and New Delhi, aimed at fostering cooperation, with a focus on urban water management.
The Israeli delegation included, in addition to Tenne, Oded Distel, head of Israel NewTech, Zohar Yinon of the Jerusalem Water Authority and Elisha Arad of the Standards Institute of Israel.
The mission toured the Raipur water system, as guests of Taran Prakash Sinha, commissioner of the Raipur Municipal Corporation.
Raipur is the capital city of Chhattisgarh, in central India, which has a population of over one million. The Indian officials taking part in the Raipur visit were very interested in learning from Israel’s expertise in the field.
The delegation followed its visit to Raipur with one to New Delhi, where they attended a seminar sponsored by the Indian Ministry of Urban Planning.
"India presents huge challenges in urban water planning. First and foremost, a change in concept is needed, one in which people begin to perceive water as the precious resource that it is.” Distel said.
"Once this change in perception occurs, then changes can be achieved in urban water supply, management, measurement, pricing and collection. This is a very dramatic change, but the community of Indian urban water professionals appears poised to make it."
"India today is roughly in the situation in which Israel was 10 or so years ago, with 12 different government ministries responsible for urban water," Tenne added.
"This created a lot of confusion and inefficiency, which was solved when water treatment was placed under the leadership of the Water Authority. The Indian water community looks to Israel as a sort of guru, they know the Israeli water industry very well and hold it in very high regard."
Yoni Ben Zaken, Israel's Economic Attaché to India, concluded, “Raipur is a starting point, but there are 600 more cities in India with a similar urban water situation and needs, so the market potential is very significant."
Reprinted with permission from Israel NewTech