Israel is taking an increasing chunk of the growing world market for water technology, with exports expected to increase 28 percent in 2007 after a 21% rise in 2006, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said Sunday. One of the world leaders in developing water desalination and filtering technology, Israel exported $850 million worth of water technology in 2006 to countries around the world, with 2007's exports projected to reach $1.1 billion. A survey commissioned by the ministry revealed that the world market for water technology, valued at $410b., is growing year by year and is expected to be a $600b. annual market by 2015. As water demands grow and resources shrink creating a global water shortage, new technologies are needed to increase the supply. As a result, the government decided in 2006, to invest heavily in the development of the water technology industry in Israel and allocated NIS 120m through 2008 in the state budget for the cause. There are currently 270 water technology companies operating in Israel employing 8,000 workers, of which 70 companies are start-ups established with the help of the Chief Scientist's Research & Development programs, which commenced their activities after 2001. Mekorot, Israel's national water corporation, has established a technology support unit, WaTech, which supports the expansion of Mekorot's water technology solutions to help Israeli water-related start-ups get access to the world water market and assistance with strategic partnerships and capital. Israel ranks among the world leaders in four different areas within the water industry; the erection of desalination plants, watering systems, treated waste water reclamation and management and supervision of water resources. At the end of last week, the Magnet program announced the launch of a consortium of water technology companies and institutes that will receive an initial budget of NIS 15m. from the Office of the Chief Scientist, to develop water saving solutions. The consortium, which was set up for a period of three years, includes the Yissum technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University, Mekorot, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University, Arkal Filtration Systems, Amiad Filtration Systems Ltd. and Bio Pure Technology among others. The aim of the consortium is to find effective solutions to battle biofouling and also to develop new and useful methods to treat and save water.