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BGU Helps India Rehabilitate a Polluted River

February 14, 2013

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Prof. Yoram Oren, of BGU's Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, first saw how chemicals from textile dyeing factories were poisoning India's Noyyal River during a sabbatical he spent in India.

Prof. Oren, a water desalination expert, spent his sabbatical year setting up a water research laboratory at Karunya University in Tamil Nadu state.

A passionate advocate of water rights, he saw the effects of river pollution on the local people, agriculture and wildlife, and decided to return to Tamil Nadu and help local water experts save the dying Noyyal.

To rehabilitate the polluted Noyyal, Prof. Oren is exploring how a relatively new technique called nanofiltration can be used to filter out harmful textile dyes from the water.

Water Purification Lab

Prof. Yoram Oren's water filtration laboratory (Photo: Prof. Yoram Oren)

Nanofiltration uses membranes to remove dissolved solids such as pollutants.

It's a good solution for developing countries where there is a shortage of drinking water because it is relatively inexpensive.

Unlike other water purification techniques, it does not strip essential minerals, such as calcium, from water.

"Israel’s own chronic water shortage has driven Israeli scientists and researchers to push the boundaries in refining new, water saving technologies like nanofiltration," says Prof. Oren.