The so-called "Green Jobs for Blue Waters" initiative was unveiled last week by Lt. Gov. John Cherry. The goal is to eventually broaden out the program and establish a Michigan training center to help create new jobs in fields like engineering, manufacturing, installation and maintenance.
"As these projects expand, we will train more Michigan workers and develop expertise that we can export nationally and globally as well," Lt. Gov. John Cherry said in unveiling the initiative.
"No question, it's a business opportunity, but we see it as a business opportunity for Michigan as well," said Booky Oren, Miya's President and CEO. "I think that when you are dealing with efficiency, you create more from existing resources."
Most water system operators make "major mistakes" in seeking to immediately replace pipes when leaks occur, he said.
"By controlling pressure, you immediately reduce the water loss amount and only after that you have a lot of data (about) what's going on, and then you begin to prioritize where you replace pipes," Oren said.
Miya, based in Tel Aviv, specializes in developing urban water-loss technology. Miya’s mission is to help the cities of the world benefit from the huge opportunity presented by water loss reduction and effective management of urban water. Miya’s offering presents a comprehensive water loss solution for municipalities, from audit of the city’s water system to full project execution and maintenance.
According to a report in the Michigan Business Review, The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department provides an average of 675 million gallons of drinking water per day to nearly 4 million customers across 1,079 square miles in Southeast Michigan.
While amounts of loss vary according to location and age of the system, the department's latest estimate is that it loses an average of 9 percent of its drinking water supplies to leaks, said Pam Turner, interim director.
"This is treated water that we're losing out of the system," she said.
Miya workers will initially staff the two pilot projects, Oren said.
"No question that as soon as possible we need to find the right partners. Most of the jobs need to be by the local (companies) or even employees of the local utility," he said.
The project resulted from Gov. Jennifer Granholm's economic investment trip to Israel in November and a corresponding partnership agreement she signed with Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai.
"We have to understand that there is this nexus between water and energy," said Cherry, who leads a joint Michigan-Israel water technology working group. "This initiative is the next step in that progression to a new Michigan - alternative energy, blue water and on and on as we build the dream of a Michigan future.
"Ultimately what our goal here with this initiative is to put Michigan in the position of global leadership and expertise with water management systems."