South Africa looks to Israeli water tech to fight drought

Watergen, an Israel-based company that uses innovative technology to create clean drinking water from air, was chosen by World Vision South Africa to help launch a mobile water generation project for communities in the Eastern Cape.

Like most of the rest of South Africa, the province has been stricken with severe conditions of drought over the last few years. The continued increasing population, contamination of rivers, inefficient water infrastructure and a dependence on water usage for the coal industry have all contributed to the ongoing challenges in maintaining a sufficiently fresh water supply throughout South Africa.

World Vision South Africa was a winner of the 2018 Bill Ford Better World Challenge, which gives employees and non-profit organizations around the world the opportunity to address critical humanitarian problems in their respective communities and to develop sustainable solutions. World Vision’s local branch will use a custom-built heavy-duty double-axle trailer to carry the GEN-350, an atmospheric water generator (AWG) produced by Watergen, to provide water to countless residents in the Eastern Cape.

With a weight of just 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds), the GEN-350 is transportable and can be installed easily. Each unit contains an internal water treatment system and can produce up to 900 liters of pure, safe-drinking water per day. Needing no infrastructure to operate except for a source of electricity, the GEN-350 will be powered by a diesel generator.

A Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi XL Double Cab acquired from Eastern Cape Motors Ford North End in Port Elizabeth will tow the trailer carrying the GEN-350. Over the next two years, the project will provide fresh, safe-drinking water to 50 early childhood development centers and a good portion of the 79 schools located in Uitenhage and KwaNobuhle. At least four clinics and an estimated 3,400 households are also expected to reap the benefits.

World Vision South Africa’s project was awarded a $200,000 grant in conjunction with Ford Motor Company Fund as well an additional $130,000 from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. The grant money was used in part to acquire the GEN-350.

Watergen’s president, Dr. Michael Mirilashvili conveyed a sense of glee at taking part in another humanitarian venture. “We are thrilled with this shared cooperation. We share the same goals of assisting communities all around the globe.” Dr. Mirilashvili is the visionary behind Watergen’s goal to provide clean, safe-drinking water to every human being around the world.

Wanting to learn more about the patented heat-exchange technology, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of the Ford Motor Company, visited Watergen’s offices and rooftop in Herzliya, Israel on Thursday, June 13th and tasted the water produced by the innovative GEN-350 AWG.

Watergen’s efforts to make fresh, pure water available around the globe earned the company its place on the World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s top technology pioneers in 2018. Most recently, Watergen’s small-scale GENNY was nominated as the “Best of Innovation Honoree” in the “Tech For a Better World” category at CES USA 2019.

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