Water Challenges

In Israel the most precious commodity is water and it is at risk. Find out how you can help.

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Water Experts Discuss Global Challenges in UN Briefing

PRESS RELEASE

Contact:
Adam H. Brill
Director of Communications
212-879-9305 x222
 

WATER EXPERTS DISCUSS GLOBAL CHALLENGES IN UN BRIEFING

Every Drop of Water Makes a Difference" Highlights Available

Israeli Technology to Help Countries in Need;

Vital Info Presented on Critical Issues Affecting Arid Clinates,

Water Management & Sustainability

 

UN NGO Briefing.jpg

New York, NY: June 19, 2014 A panel of experts on water issues today discussed how Israeli technology can be shared to help reduce the impact that arid climate has had on countries with limited water supply in a special briefing at the United Nations.

     The goal of the briefing, arranged by Jewish National Fund (JNF) and its partners, is to help fellow Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and UN representatives bring first-hand information on water issues back to their own countries, highlighting how JNF is making the world a better place.

     The panel of experts included: Sharon B. Megdal, PhD., Director, Water Resources Research Center, The University of Arizona; Clive Lipchin, PhD., Director, Center of Transboundary Water Management, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and Seth M. Siegel, businessman and writer on water issues. The presentation, moderated by Joseph Hess, JNF Vice President, Government Relations, provided vital information on the critical issue of water management and sustainability.  

     The briefing focused on water issues in arid countries, including transboundary water management in the Middle East; recycling techniques including new technological advancements; managing potable water in areas of increased population and agricultural use; new developments in increasing water supply; and leveraging local philanthropies for high impact. 

     “The Middle East region is an exciting ‘living laboratory’ for developing and implementing solutions to challenges of water scarcity,” remarked Dr. Megdal. “My work in this region and elsewhere, including at the border between the United States and Mexico, focuses on how we can learn from each other and identify water management and policy solutions at different geographic scales. Every drop of water does count and we all have a role to play in stewardship of this most vital of all resources.”

     “Exploring both the opportunities and obstacles to cooperation is very important,” Dr. Lipchin said. “Israel has successfully solved its water crisis through innovative technologies and policies. However, most of Israel's fresh water is transboundary, necessitating a cooperative approach to the sustainable development of the region’s vulnerable fresh water supply.”

     Siegel, the author of a book on water policies scheduled to be released in 2015 added, “The secret to Israel’s success in achieving water security is its relentless innovation and their ‘all of the above’ approach to problem solving. Rather than seek one technique to solve all of its problems, Israel utilizes a broad array of policy, regulation, infrastructure, price and other tools to give its citizens reliable, safe, high-quality water on demand.”

     Joe Hess, who is also vice president of the International Arid Lands Consortium, commented, “The world has the right to expect adequate potable water. We believe this is attainable by adapting applicable research, proven techniques and management guidelines successfully applied to the water needs in arid lands such as in the Middle East.”

     In her presentation, Dr. Megdal discussed how the challenges the Middle East region faces are similar to those of many regions across the world. She indicated that there is currently an ongoing global search for solutions and that the collection of solutions is similar: conservation, desalination, reuse, good governance, and aquifer recharge, along with others. 

     Megdal spoke about how the U.S. and Mexico are cooperating successfully through the mechanisms of the International Boundary and Water Commission and how some of these practices can be transferred to the Middle East. She referenced some of the water projects in Israel and in Jordan and focused on two promising areas of cooperation, one related to grey water use in Jordan, and another along the Israeli-Palestinian border at Emek Hefer‐Tulkarem‐Nablus involving wastewater flow and treatment. Dr. Megdal stressed the need for more open communication channels.

    Lipchin outlined Israel's water strategy and the country’s desalination technology and wastewater reuse that have solved Israel's water crisis and how such technologies can also be leveraged in furthering cooperation between Israel and her neighbors. A point of concern he raised was the need to restore the Dead Sea via a Red Sea-Dead Sea conveyance or Mediterranean Sea-Dead Sea conveyance as a possible regional strategy to both provide more water to the region and rehabilitate the Dead Sea.

     Siegel, who has written extensively on Israel’s water technology, addressed how the tiny nation early on rose to its water challenges: “When the State of Israel was only a few years old, it decided to develop a series of forward-looking laws that put the country on a footing for success in water management, and for a national population a large multiple of what it was then. These laws elevated the communal good over any one individual. Governance and regulation have followed the same approach, seeking to serve the largest number possible while growing the economy for everyone’s benefit.”

     In recent years, Israel has adopted the use of price to affect behavior. Here, too, the result was a huge benefit in reduced consumption. Israel has utilized science and engineering in agriculture in the service of limiting usage. Israeli innovations like drip irrigation or non-GMO breeding have resulted in larger yields with less water. Despite a domestic market and a robust export industry for fruits, vegetables and flowers, Israel uses less than fifty percent of its annual water for agriculture. Experimentation and innovation in water as in other areas is what makes Israel special in water resource management.

     A question and answer period between members of the NGO audience and the panel followed the panel briefing.  


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.

 # # #

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.

 

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Water Challenges

In Israel the most precious commodity is water and it is at risk. Find out how you can help.

 

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