Watertech Startups in MENA Region
Cleantech: An emerging solution to face an uncertain future over water?
As Kök Projekt, we are an agri-food startup accelerator and an innovation partner for the food, agriculture, and water sector companies. By researching and preparing reports, we help our partners stay at the forefront of the information on the global food, agriculture, and water ecosystem. We are deeply immersed in the research, and we also prepare ecosystem maps. Eventually, we launched our Turkish Water ecosystem map in September. As we are working locally and globally, we also searched for the MENA region water startups and looked for their value proposition.
MENA’S Water Challenges
The Middle East and North Africa have already faced climate crisis consequences. Water scarcity is increasing in this region. Water is scarce in the Middle East and North Africa, with water resources per capita just one-sixth of the world average. As FAO’s report states, MENA has two main water scarcity issues: physical water scarcity and institutional and governance issues.
The climate crisis affects the water crisis as well. With extreme weather events, droughts and sea-level water increase expected. The water crisis will also affect agricultural yield. Climate change may be a global problem, but its impact in Mena is particularly severe. Climate-induced water challenges in an already arid region require immediate attention.
Startup: Is It The Path to Solve Water Challenges in The Region?
MENA has significant challenges over water security. However, many startups are working to find solutions to this ongoing problem. MENA region has a tech-savvy young population, and the area shows some promises for a more sustainable water ecosystem. When we look at the water startup ecosystem, Cleantech becomes an essential part of it. According to Investopedia, Cleantech means, “In finance, the term cleantech—short for clean technology—is used to refer to various companies and technologies that aim to improve environmental sustainability. Usage of the term has varied over the years, with some users treating it synonymously with terms such as “green technology” to refer to renewable energy sources, new methods of recycling, and other environmentally-friendly practices.”
Startups could provide innovative and water-friendly solutions for a more sustainable future of the region. We have worked on a shortlist of MENA Region water-tech startups. Some of them are listed below.
Watergen LTD is an Israel based company and develops energy-efficient solutions to collect clean and safe drinking water from the air. Their technology is patented and creates high-quality drinking water out of air. According to Watergen, their innovative solution can tackle the growing problem of depleting drinking water levels in the world. Watergen’s impact is creating both an additional clean drinking water source and accomplishing it in the most economically efficient manner, making its unique technology available to all. The company provides various water sizes from air units that can serve several needs and require no facilities other than electricity or solar power. The company offers applications for municipal, commercial and residential usage. Watergen also has an office in Charlotte, NC, USA, and the company is present in more than 65 countries worldwide.
Goutra is a technology startup in Algeria, which provides technology that monitors water consumption in real-time. Their product “Smart Faucet” is a water-saving system based on an electronic unit to ensure the measurements of consumption and the show in real-time on the faucet for each usage on the tap, this device sends the consumption to a storage device that collects the measurements(24/7) by a wireless network, which can adjust to the performance of all types of faucets. A software or web service can process and analyze stored data to provide a user with a comprehensive report of their consumption. This report allows the user to monitor the consumption and help to save water. The software analyzes the data of water consumption, taking into account several parameters such as geographical area, the number and the ages of people in the house, the purpose of using the device (kitchen, bathroom, etc.), people’s habits, and customization is also possible.
The electronic device can be integrated inside the faucet. The software can be embedded in the storage device with a touch screen and smartphone and tablet. This system can be adapted to be used in the industrial or agricultural sector.
Red Sea Farms
Red Sea Farms is an agricultural startup in Saudi Arabia. The company aims to provide viable solutions to water scarcity. They develop and deliver environmentally sustainable salt-water-based agricultural systems to reduce the food sector’s carbon and water footprint. Red Sea Farms offers products and services designed to help farmers grow food sustainably using fewer resources in water-scarce areas. They build new saltwater greenhouses and retrofit existing greenhouses with their patent-pending saltwater-cooling and Coretex control system technologies. They provide technical advice, design guidance, project management, operations management, and grower services for saltwater and desert agriculture. And they sell organic, pesticide-free tomatoes and other products grown sustainably in their saltwater greenhouses and via partner farms.
Buy Me Filter
Buy Me Filter is an initiative of an Egyptian startup Water Will. Water Will aims to develop innovative solutions for water problems around the world. They work with three core values; sustainability, accountability and innovation. According to Water Will, there are two billion people that do not have access to clean water. With Buy Me Filter, the company wants to tackle the problem of access to clean water. They developed a water filter manufactured from a mixture of ceramic and other environmentally-friendly materials. The filter is 90% recyclable and requires no maintenance for over 3 years. Traditional water filters can be expensive and require maintenance costs. Buy me filter aims to create clean water accessible, affordable clean water solutions for rural Egypt and underserved areas in Africa.
Aqwise is a technology startup in Israel. Their vision is to develop sustainable technologies. They help communities and industrial companies to address the planet’s water scarcity, global warming, and water pollution problems. They aim to deliver the best, cost-effective, easy to operate solutions.
Cleantech Definition, Investopedia, Retrieve from; https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cleantech.asp
FAO, 2018, Cairo, Water Management In Fragile Systems, Building Resilience to Shocks and Protracted Crises In The Middle East and North Africa, Retrieve from; http://www.fao.org/3/I9730EN/i9730en.pdf
The Middle East is Thirsty for Solutions to Water Scarcity, Maram Ahmed is a Senior Fellow at Soas, University of London, 2020 Retrieve from: https://www.thenationalnews.com/opinion/comment/the-middle-east-is-thirsty-for-solutions-to-water-scarcity-1.1084830
The Startup Scene, August 2020, Egyptian startup designs environmentally friendly water filter at less than half average cost, Retrieve from; https://thestartupscene.me/INVESTMENTS/Egyptian-Startup-Designs-Environmentally-Friendly-Water-Filter-at-Less-Than-Half-Average-Cost
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