Safe drinking water in a disaster

An Israeli company saves lives with a simple and effective state-of-the-art device that can purify contaminated water and make it drinkable. Water Sheer’s purification systems were delivered to Myanmar following the 2008 cyclone, and went along to Taiwan in 2009 and Haiti in 2010 with emergency medical teams sent by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs following earthquakes.

 Safe drinking water in a disaster

 

Water Sheer's water purification devices were delivered to Taiwan in the wake of an earthquake in 2009.

By Avigayil Kadesh

It’s not just the athletes who are preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Behind the scenes, an Israeli water purification solutions specialist stands ready to play his part in coordinated contingency plans, in the event of a terrorist attack or natural calamity during the Games.

"You need high-quality water in every circumstance, and we are able to provide it even in cases of disaster," says Yossie Sandak, CEO and co-founder of Water Sheer, a developer and marketer of multi-use systems for converting unsafe water to drinking water, and for transporting and distributing the clean H2O. The three-year-old company has already gained a foothold in the municipal, recreational, military and humanitarian aid markets.

 Safe drinking water in a disaster

The Sulis Personal Purification Device fits onto most standard bottles, taps and tanks, providing quality drinking water from almost any groundwater source.

Water Sheer’s Sulis Personal Purification Devices (PPDs) and Sokol multi-liter purification systems were delivered to Myanmar following the 2008 cyclone, and went along to Taiwan in 2009 and Haiti in 2010 with emergency medical teams sent by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs following earthquakes. "In Taiwan, within 48 hours our products were already in the field and purifying 16,000 liters per day," Sandak recounts.

The problem of providing adequate potable water is not limited, however, to areas hit by terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Because only 0.74 percent of the world’s water is considered safe for drinking, some two billion people either lack access to sufficient quantities of water or are supplied with unsafe water.

It is estimated that about 1.6 million children under the age of five die from drinking untreated water in developing nations. Temporary shortages of drinking water or difficulties in moving or distributing water to civilian, emergency or military populations are also everyday occurrences.


Starting over with water

This is why Sandak took such an interest in a water purification device developed by Ron Shani in 2005. A former officer in the Israeli Air Force, Sandak had more than 25 years of experience as a commercial entrepreneur in critical infrastructure areas, such as building power plants and energy development programs.

"When Ron came to me with his ideas and design, I decided to leave my business and concentrate on water – a huge problem the world is aiming to solve and that has to be treated differently in different segments," Sandak says. They founded Water Sheer after two years of perfecting a prototype and carrying out market research. Director Ilan Maor rounds out the executive team.

Sandak has positioned Water Sheer in several sectors, including homeland security. At the first Israel Homeland Security International Conference in Tel Aviv earlier this fall, Water Sheer was the only company of its kind invited by the organizers to make a presentation.

It is not unique in its field, but does offer some unique features in that its products are inexpensive, readily available in mass quantities, small and lightweight, appropriate for both children and adults, maintenance-free, and not dependent on professional teams or electrical power.


Quenching thirst in a disaster

"When there’s a disaster, the main problem is how to bring water to the population as fast as possible and that’s what we know how to do," says Sandak. "We offer full service and several different solutions." Up to 20 percent of the equipment sent to disaster areas was donated, he notes.

Based in Airport City near Tel Aviv, Water Sheer concentrates its manufacturing operations in economically weak areas in Israel’s north and south. The company currently offers two purification systems and portable supply, mobilization, and distribution systems.

The FDA-cleared, patent-pending Sulis PPD is a compact, self-contained device that fits onto most standard bottles, water taps and tanks, providing quality drinking water from almost any groundwater source by treating organic, biological and chemical contaminants with a chlorine tablet. Marketed as a solution for emergency preparedness response, military operations, global travel and other commercial uses, one unit can purify up to 700 liters with a shelf life of about six months.

 

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