Israeli company that makes water out of thin air signs deal with Uzbekistan

Dry, landlocked Central Asian nation to buy thousands of Watergen atmospheric water generators in deal likely worth several million dollars

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Girls in Bukahara, Uzbekistan, try out the technology of Israeli company Watergen, which makes drinking water out of air. (Youtube screenshot)
Girls in Bukahara, Uzbekistan, try out the technology of Israeli company Watergen, which makes drinking water out of air. (Youtube screenshot)

The government of Uzbekistan has signed a memorandum of understanding with an Israel-based company that literally produces clean drinking water out of thin air.

The deal, estimated to be worth several million dollars, will see thousands of Watergen atmospheric water generators dispatched to cities and towns in the Central Asian country.

The MOU follows a successful Watergen pilot at an orphanage in the city of Bukhara.

It was signed Tuesday by Uzbekistan’s Minister of Innovation, Ibrohim Abdurakhmonov and Watergen’s Vice-President of marketing and sales, Michael Rutman.

Drawing water from a Watergen generator in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. (Screenshot/YouTube )

The technology was developed by engineers working alongside entrepreneur Arye Kohavi, a former combat reconnaissance company commander in the Israeli Army. It uses a series of filters to purify the air. After the air is sucked in and chilled to extract its humidity, the water that forms is treated and transformed into clean drinking water. The technology uses a plastic heat exchanger rather than an aluminum one, which helps reduce costs; it also includes a proprietary software that operates the devices.

Each GEN-M water generator weighs 780 kilograms (1,720 pounds) and can produce up to 800 liters (210 gallons) of water per day. With its own internal water treatment system, the only infrastructure needed is an electricity source.

Uzbekistan, which is semi-arid, is one of just two double landlocked countries in the world, in that it is surrounded by other landlocked nations.

A general view of Bukhara, Uzbekistan, taken from the legendary Kalyan minaret with the Mir-I-Arab Madrassa in the foreground, November 21, 2001 (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

It relies on two principal rivers for its fresh water supply. However, with a fast-growing population and moves by neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to divert both rivers for hydro-power, it is facing water shortages.

Watergen’s GEN-M water generators, which have been sold all over the world, made a splash during Uzbekistan’s Innoweek 2019 exhibition this week in Tashkent, where Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister, Aziz Abdukhakimov, said that Uzbekistan “desperately needs technology such as that provided by Watergen in order to improve its water sector.”

Watergen, established in 2010, is based in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion.

Its president is billionaire Dr. Michael Mirilashvili, a Russian-Israeli entrepreneur who is also vice president of the World Jewish Congress.

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