Dominican Minister of Regional Integration on a visit in Friesland

On Wednesday, 17 May, we received received a visit from the Dominican Republic at the WaterCampus. The Minister of Regional Integration was on a mission through the Netherlands, to take a look at all that we have to offer by way of water technology. He was very impressed with the many innovations our members have to offer.

After tasting ‘oranjekoek’, a traditional Friesian sweet, and listening to a brief introduction on our culture, Alex Berhitu, Business Development Manager for the Water Alliance, explained exactly how the innovation ecosystem on the WaterCampus works. Drawing on a number of examples, he explained what all we have to offer. “We are one of the few, if not the only, country in the world that doesn’t add any chlorine to its tap water.” The minister seems sceptical, but nonetheless proceeds to pour himself a glass. He is critical, but amazed at all the inventive technologies that the Netherlands has to offer, such as the Upfall Shower and the Hydrowashr. That latter was thoroughly tested, seeing that we have it at the WaterCampus. The Hydrowashr is a device for washing your hands that uses just ten millilitres of water, and disinfects and dries in just twenty seconds. In a region like the Dominican Republic, where clean water is scarce, this could offer a major advantage.

The delegation was then brought to the Water Application Centre (WAC), where it received further information about the Water for Everyone Foundation. This Foundation is already involved in multiple projects in Latin America, which certainly piqued the delegation’s interest.

Visit to several Water Alliance members

After a Dominican lunch at the WaterCampus, it was time to leave for the FreshWaterMill of Solteq-Energy. Herre Rost van Tonningen, CEO of Solteq-Energy, has solutions to offer for remote regions that are cut off from clean drinking water. “I lived in that region myself for a year, so I know a little bit about the situation there. You always have to wait and see what comes out of a visit like this, but I am enthusiastic and we are now going to present a proposal. The minister is certainly a man who can bring us into contact with the right people, and I got the impression that he really got a good understanding of what we can do.”

The next visit was to the sister companies Dutch Water Partners (DWP) and Bucon Industries, where a tour of the “Men of Steel” factory was provided by Alekos Ikonomou (Bucon) and Olga Sójka (DWP). In this factory, technologies developed by DWP and Bucon are being used. “There were some very sharp questions asked”, says Ikonomou. “Not all directly related to water technology, but also on the modular housing products, in which there was a substantial amount of interest. That gave a lot of inspiration for further development of them.”

The day was closed with a visit to Paques in Balk. There, Peter Yspeert, Senior Sales Manager, gave a presentation about their technology for purifying sewage water in tropical regions. “We made a very conscious decision to focus the presentation on one solution that could be of interest to them. We got a lot of questions, and they were very interested. Now we are going to take a look, with the Dutch embassy and our branch in Brazil, at what we can do for the Dominican Republic. Despite the visit being at the end of a busy day for them, it was very valuable.”