Amit Bhattacharya-The writer of this article visited Israel at the invitation of the Israeli government

The demand for bottled water keeps growing despite the industry being fuel-consuming and highly polluting. A new Israeli company believes it has an alternative to this pressing environmental problem — kiosks that dispense water as safe as the bottled variety without adding to the plastic menace.

Woosh is a startup that uses a patent-pending, ozone-based disinfection system at its kiosks for killing microorganisms just before the water is dispensed.

There are slots in these easily-identifiable kiosks to disinfect reusable bottles without the use of hands and multiple payment options.

“The idea is to have a network of such kiosks in a city so that people can refill their bottles on the go without worrying about contamination. Our first pilot is currently on in Tel Aviv,” says Dani Oren of Woosh.

Israel has been called ‘startup nation’ for a culture of entrepreneurship that encourages young people to bet on new ideas. The country’s water sector is a good example of this trend, with a number of tyros bringing in innovation to address a range of needs.

Like Woosh, SmarTap is a small startup that believes it’s on to a big idea. SmarTap has developed a digital shower system that gives users precise control over water temperature and flow.

The company seeks to target the hotel sector with the promise of big savings on their water bills. “There are embedded controls in the system through which flow rates can be reduced for water and energy savings without spoiling the shower experience,” says Ran Zarivatch, the company’s business development manager.

Water-Gen has a more established presence. The startup produces water from air, among other things. These water production units, mainly designed for combat vehicles, turn out 30-60 litres per day of potable water from humidity in the air. The water is dispensed cold from a tap installed inside a tank or other military vehicles.

“Troops need water wherever they go. In Afghanistan, for instance, 50% of Nato movements take place for supplying water to troops. Our patented heat-exchange technology produces water at the point of use, doing away with a major logistics headache,” says Water-Gen CEO Arye Kohavi, himself a former soldier.

The Israel government backs such innovations by organizing a water exhibition every two years. It aims to showcase these technologies at its biennial water exhibition, WATEC, which will take place this October.