Some environmental predictors believe that water is the new oil. Changes in land-use patterns, pollution, and the effects of global warming have caused water scarcity to become a global problem.
In the summer, Americans do their part by watering their gardens on certain days, or at night, and have learned to turn the tap off when brushing their teeth, but much more can be done. An Israeli company may have the key: it has put together a package of technology solutions from Israel that can recycle much of the household water that goes down the drain.
Water Arc integrates several technologies. Based in Haifa, the four-person company founded this year says it can save about 40 percent of your household water. This translates to huge savings on the water bill, but also for the environment, as most of the cost of water is from the energy needed to pump it to your home.
In 1948, when the State of Israel was created, water scarcity was a major issue. It remains a problem today. Israeli-developed solutions to these shortages attract partners and business from around the world. While we “don’t feel the shortage of water at home,” it’s happening, says Ilan Katz, the managing director of Water Arc.
He met with ISRAEL21c at the 12th Annual Cleantech Expo at Airport City outside of Tel Aviv this past June, and explained his novel solution — an amalgamation of the best in Israeli water reclamation technologies — to drastically reduce the demand for water in residential and commercial areas.
Generally, “wastewater treatment uses technology at the level of the city and not the house,” says Katz. “There is a lot of water going down the drain,” he says, noting that dealing with water scarcity will be the next major global issue the world will face, after global warming.
Water Arc has developed a technology to process and redirect “grey water” wastewater from your shower, washing machines and bathroom sinks. This water is cleaned and channeled to toilets and distributed to the garden hose for watering your garden.
Other solutions on the market exist, says Katz, but his is unique because the water is clear and filtered before it gets repurposed, which is generally not the case in other solutions. Although Americans are motivated to introduce greener solutions at home, they should be aesthetic and smell good too, he tells ISRAEL21c: “Even though you are saving water, you have to feel well with it,” he says.
Although not necessarily an economical solution for some people (a home unit sells for about $3,000) it is a very cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for larger apartment buildings and commercial centers. An installation at a 100-unit apartment would cost about $30,000 and would take about four years to pay for itself, he says.
Besides the cost, one other drawback is that the Water Arc system cannot be installed into houses that are already built. A new homeowner would have to plan for it before the house is constructed, says Katz, who had a swarm of potential investors and media types around him at the expo.
Supported by the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Water Arc also has a LEEDS certified wetlands solution for the private home. My Planet, a green home consultancy company in New York, is marketing Water Arc in the United States.