Israel's exports of water and related technology are a "gold spring," said Israel Export Institute chairman David Artzi on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday's observance of World Water Day. Israel is one of the world leaders in developing desalination and filtering technology and exported approximately $1 billion worth of water technology in 2006 to countries around the world, with 2007's exports expected to reach $2b., according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. A survey commissioned by the ministry revealed that the world market for water technology has grown 10% in each of the past five years, and is expected to be a $600b. a year market by 2008. "Israel's water-related production has the potential for great growth, and just like we have seen our hi-tech sector grow out of military use into everyday use and become our greatest export, our water production technology has the potential to tap into new markets around the world," said Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai this week. Meanwhile, the ministry convened a meeting of various government offices, agencies and academic institutions in which the advancement of Israel's water production and water industry and the export of the country's water-related technology were the primary subjects under discussion. Over the next year, the ministry plans to heavily market Israel's water industry around the world, beginning with a new promotional video, as well as an updated Web site showcasing the industry. Israel has hosted water-industry leaders and experts from China, Spain and Singapore interested in learning more about the country's water technology over the last few months and this week signed a technology sharing agreement with Australia. Today (Thursday), the Export Institute will host a delegation of some 60 water-industry representatives from more than 40 countries, including the President of the International Water Association, Dr. David Garman. World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro and has been observed every March 22 since 1993. This year's theme is "Coping with water scarcity," and countries around the world will be holding events and conferences relating to the theme.