Israel’s Water Authority Praises JNF’s Work
Sends Special Thanks for Role in Alleviating Water Crisis
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
May 28, 2009 -- New York, NY -- Uri Shani, the director of the Israel Water Authority, is swimming in everything but, well, water. Suffering from the fifth consecutive dry year, Israel faces the worst water crisis in decades and Shani's office is inundated with work. But he still found time to send a letter of thanks to Jewish National Fund (JNF) for its contributions to Israel’s water economy and its long term goals for doing more.
“I am looking forward to cooperation regarding the Israeli water crisis for both immediate and long term,” he wrote. “We have defined goals and projects to be implemented and JNF America has committed itself to be an active partner in this process.
“Acknowledging the fruitful involvement of JNF America, including the establishment of over 200 reservoirs in Israel to date, I want to thank you all for your generosity and wish you the best of luck on your 31 Days in May campaign to help us alleviate this water crisis.”
As part of its ongoing work with water, JNF launched the above-mentioned month-long campaign which is coming to a close next week.
The campaign is harnessing the power of the internet, something JNF has mastered: it was the first Jewish non-profit to raise $1 million online, and last year raised close to $5 million in online donations alone.
Using TeamRaiser technology from Convio, JNF reached out to its vast email list across the country and created teams of participants who forwarded the message to others. Through a simple registration process, participants created personalized homepages that they used that they used to recruit others.
“We’ve used this technology very successfully before,” said Ira Bartfield, JNF’s national community campaign chair, “so we know it works.”
The message is an urgent one. “This crisis affects the entire Middle East,” said Chuck Fax, JNF vice president of campaign. “But it’s a silent crisis; one that doesn’t get the headlines.”
Because of the drought in Israel, the water in Lake Kinneret and aquifers has dropped to levels that threaten water availability and supply, the sustainability of the Israeli water system, and water-related agricultural, environmental and natural resources.
Said Shani: "The severe crisis has forced us to cut supply to both domestic and agricultural sectors and at the same time to invest in more efficient water systems and in new water resources -- pecifically in sea water desalination."
According to the UN water index, the minimum quantity of water each person needs is 79,200 gallons per year. Israel’s water sources can supply only 31,680 gallons per person per year, a scant 40% of the UN minimum. Israel can’t survive without water, the essence of life.
By the year 2020 the population of Israel is expected to grow by another three million people. The country will require nearly another 80 billion gallons of drinking water to cope with this population growth and the ever-rising standard of living.
Jewish National Fund foresaw the significance of the water issue and began allocating resources to build reservoirs in the late 1980s. Thanks to the contributions of JNF supporters, to date 200 reservoirs and dams have been built across Israel, adding over 66 billion gallons of treated water and flood water to Israel’s national water economy, or 10% of the total water supply.
This water irrigates over 450 thousand dunam (about 112 thousand acres) of orchard and field crop that would otherwise use up scarce fresh water. JNF reservoirs meet about 40% of Israel’s agricultural water needs, thereby alleviating the pressure of supplying drinking water to the population.
JNF’s ongoing water campaign will help alleviate Israel’s water crisis by raising funds to build 40 new reservoirs, research and implement new agricultural techniques, and develop innovative wetlands technology. JNF was the only non-Israeli agency to be invited to testify at the National Investigation Committee on Water in Israel hearings in March.
For more information on JNF’s work with water, please visit http://www.jnf.org/.
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.