Waste not, want not with Miya’s Booky Oren

Pinpointing pressure management for urban water loss reduction, the Israeli national water utility past chairman spearheads Arison Group’s $100 million effort to meet aging infrastructure, water scarcity and climate change challenges via greater water efficiency.

Th 316804

By Carlos David Mogollón, Managing Editor

Pinpointing pressure management for urban water loss reduction, the Israeli national water utility past chairman spearheads Arison Group’s $100 million effort to meet aging infrastructure, water scarcity and climate change challenges via greater water efficiency.

Th 316804
Boody Oren
Click here to enlarge image

Water lost due to aging and/or leaky piping is water wasted. And, when it has gone through an expensive treatment process, the value of that loss increases incrementally with the energy and infrastructure investment to treat and deliver it — compounding the waste.

Even before the recent financial crisis engulfed the globe making every peso, dollar, pound, euro, yuan, rupee, dinar or shekel spent on infrastructure even more critical, that was the message of Baruch “Booky” Oren, president and CEO of Miya, an Arison Group company.

While an entity since 2006 when Carnival Cruise Line and Arison fortune heiress Shari Arison picked Oren — then chairman of Mekorot, the Israeli national water company, since 2003 — as the point man to invest $100 million in water equipment and related technologies, Miya itself was formed only last fall. Incorporated in Luxembourg, its launch was one of the big splashes at the International Water Association’s biennial World Water Congress in Vienna, Austria, in September. In the interim, it acquired several companies and technologies and enlisted various experts all pointing it toward a specific goal — reducing water losses in urban distribution systems.

Companies acquired or invested in that make up Miya include:

  • Dorot — an Israeli-based control valve company founded in 1946 that operates in over 70 countries.
  • Gutermann — a Switzerland-based company founded in 1948 and operating in over 30 countries that’s a leading provider of data acquisition and leak locating equipment.
  • IMGD Ltd. — a Croatian-based company that’s a regional water loss management pioneer.
  • Romiya — a joint venture of Miya and Grup Romet, a Romanian company founded in 1928 specializing in turnkey projects for non-revenue water loss reduction.
  • Veritec Consulting Inc. — a Canada-based company that’s designed and implemented some of the largest water loss reduction programs there, focusing on water efficiency, pressure management, metered zone flow optimization, and leak analysis software.
  • WRP — a South African international engineering consultancy, active also mainly in Australia, that targets water resource planning, conservation and environmental management.

Oren has over 24 years of experience in managerial roles in a variety of companies, ranging from start-ups to multinationals in consumer goods, finance, high-tech and the water industry. In the water arena, he also served as corporate vice president for business development at Netafim, the largest micro-irrigation company in the world. In addition, he’s chairman of Israel’s WATEC biennial trade show, which drew nearly 250 exhibitors and 19,000 visitors from 81 countries in 2007 and will be held again Nov. 17-19, 2009, in Tel Aviv.

Th 316803
Miya president and CEO; Shari Arison, chairman of Arison Group and Miya; Efrat Peled, CEO of Arison Investments and Miya vice chairman; and Iris Dror, Arison Group chief language and communication officer.
Click here to enlarge image

Oren likes to underscore the fact that 2007 was the first year most people in the world lived in cities. And, with growing populations and increasing potable water scarcity, it’s more critical than ever to optimize every drop available — particularly because these problems will only be exacerbated by climate change. Despite aging collection and distribution systems, though, he stresses pressure management often is more efficient and makes more financial sense than finding new water sources — say via desalination or pumping long distances — and repairing or replacing miles of pipes.

Click here to read “An Interview with Miya’s Booky Oren” in full in Q&A format.

More in Potable Water