Israeli Company, Researchers to Help UAE Address Water Scarcity

Historic UAE-Israel agreements have enabled even more cooperation. Israel-UAE foundational commercial agreement signing ceremony in Israel. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

Thanks to the Abraham Accords, Israel is bringing water to the desert. A company in the United Arab Emirates—which signed a peace deal with Israel as part of the Accords—has reached an agreement with Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Israeli company Watergen to establish a joint Israeli-Emirati Water Research Institute, according to a TAU press release, as part of the broader effort to provide more clean water to the UAE and beyond.

While limited drinking water is a major global challenge—especially in the Middle East—Israel has used technology and innovation to become relatively water-rich. That includes Watergen’s electric atmospheric water generator devices that extract clean water from the air, which the TAU press release noted can make up to 6,000 liters of “top-quality pure drinking water per day.” Now even more of that’s coming to the UAE too, thanks to the joint venture to set up a Watergen production facility there.

“The Abraham Accords has given countries in the Middle East the opportunity to improve and advance relations in various fields,” Watergen’s President and CEO Dr. Michael Mirilashvili said in the press release. “Thanks to the agreements, we—an Israeli company—are able to cooperate with our Middle East neighbors to solve one the region’s difficult problems—water scarcity.”

Watergen signed a deal to bring their products to the UAE in late 2020 and dozens of devices are already in the country. Now, the agreement signed last week with the UAE’s Baynunah company and TAU will set up the Water Research Institute in connection with the broader joint venture to produce Watergen devices inside the UAE. This production facility will not only work towards the goal of distributing thousands of Watergen devices in the UAE, but it will also commercialize Watergen’s machines in the region—including the broader Gulf States and Africa.

The Water Research Institute component, meanwhile, is the “first official agreement of its kind when a Water Research Institute is being established as part of a strategic commercial collaboration,” per the press release. Watergen and Baynunah will work with the Moshe Mirilashvili Institute for Applied Water Studies at Tel Aviv University in the research efforts.

TAU Vice President Prof. Milette Shamir was quoted in the press release as saying: “Tel Aviv University has a strong commitment to excellence in research and to extensive international collaboration. Research at the joint water institute will build on our special academic strengths, and will open a path for collaboration with the UAE in other mutual areas of research, as well as to student and faculty exchange programs.”

The Abraham Accords, signed last year, were a groundbreaking collection of peace deals between Israel and multiple Middle East countries. The agreements ended decades of official conflict and have ushered in a new era of cooperation between Israel and the involved nations.

Watergen’s CEO believes his company’s joint project with the UAE can further enhance the peace. Said Mirilashvili in the press release, “Throughout history, conflicts have often been centered around controlling water sources. Today we are doing the opposite: building peace and a common future around a groundbreaking Israeli technology that will provide a plug-and-play solution which allows all residents of the UAE and the world an unlimited access to off grid, top quality and pure drinking water.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, June 6, 2021)

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