India signs on with Israeli firm to fight drought


(JTA) — In a move that could alleviate India’s deadly drought problem, the country’s Tata corporation signed a memorandum of understanding with an Israeli firm that specializes in extracting drinking water from the air.

Watergen and Tata representatives signed the document in New Delhi during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India this week, the Israeli firm said in a statement. The memorandum seeks to create a mutual entity in India to manufacture Watergen units. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Watergen’s president, Mikhael Mirilashvili, showcased his company’s plan for solving the water crisis in India by 2022 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Modi’s visit to Israel.

Watergen’s two models of atmospheric water generators can extract up to 6,000 liters of water from the air every day, depending on the air humidity, the company said. The medium scale units produce up to 600 liters of water daily.

In the framework of the memorandum, a pilot program featuring the midsize unit will be set up this year in India. Last year, Watergen instituted a GEN-350G pilot in New Delhi’s Connaught Place, where nearly 2,000 people received drinking water from the air every day, the firm said. Some of the units can operate on solar energy.

The Tata-Watergen agreement is one of at least nine deals sealed during the visit, in which businessmen from Israel accompanied Netanyahu.

The Israel Electric Corp. is joining with the government of the Andhra Pradesh state to help with critical infrastructure, The Jerusalem Post reported. And the Israeli startup Phinergy is cooperating with Ashok Leyland on clean energy systems from aluminum-air batteries.

At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India, which hit hard in 2016, the government has told the Supreme Court. Dozens have died of heatstroke since the drought began, including an 11-year-old girl, Yogita Desai, who had spent close to four hours in 107.6 temperatures gathering water from a pump.

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