Bob Downing

Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, has picked Akron as its beachhead for the U.S. market.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding to bring its WaTech companies here, city officials announced Friday.

Mekorot’s office, to be located in Akron’s Global Business Accelerator, will be the company’s first U.S. location.

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the 70-year-old company specializes in water reclamation, desalination, water engineering, water safety and water quality.

Mekorot — which means “sources” in Hebrew — supplies 90 percent of Israel’s drinking water with its 3,000 installations, including 90 reservoirs.

The new agreement resulted from the just-concluded trip to Israel by Mayor Don Plusquellic, Service Director Rick Merolla and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Bowman.

Akron’s relationship with Mekorot started in 2010, when the city sent a delegation to Israel to explore areas for joint ventures, exchanges, water-system security, commercialization of water technology and other areas of mutual cooperation.

That trip sparked Mekorot’s desire to collaborate with Akron to develop its cutting-edge technology with Akron companies, city officials said.

“Akron is getting the unique opportunity to partner with one of the world’s recognized experts in water technology,” Plusquellic said. “Not only will we get to learn and use the most efficient, ?cutting-edge technologies in the world, but we will be able to improve our water system’s security, quality and service and bring additional companies to Akron. That means more jobs for our residents.”

The agreement calls initially for exchanging information, fostering technology transfer and introducing innovative technologies to reduce costs and improve service.

The information exchanges will deal with water-security strategy, current and developing technology and approaches used by both parties for their respective water and energy systems.

The company and Akron will then collaborate on business development initiatives. They will work together toward the commercialization of water- and energy-related technology to create economic growth and jobs.

“Not only did we come back with a deal with Mekorot WaTech, but we also were introduced to other energy-related businesses who are now interested in introducing their technologies to the United States, specifically to Akron,” the mayor said.

Akron officials also met with Shaul Zemach, director general of the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, in an effort to expand business opportunities and to bring other energy-efficient companies to Akron.

Plusquellic called his meeting with Zemach “very favorable.”

“To say that this trip was successful would be a major understatement,” the mayor said.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.