21 journalists from all over the globe recently spent four days in Israel touring the country’s water installations and companies. The tour is part of the effort being made by the Israeli Ministry of Economy to raise international interest, with the goal of making the upcoming WATEC event, to take place in Tel Aviv in October, the biggest WATEC to date.
These efforts have already proven themselves, with articles on Israel’s water industry appearing in the world’s largest publications, including the New York Times. Michal Marmary, CEO of Foreign Press Consulting Israel, the PR agency leading the effort, talked to us about the unique approach to this press tour: “Each of the four days of the visit centered around a couple of main themes, such as water start-ups, desalination and research, water conservation, drip irrigation, water reuse in agriculture and water education. The visits to sites and companies were carefully selected to cover each of the themes.”
The tour’s agenda took the journalists through the water industry ecosystem – from government and academia, to utilities and installations, according to each theme. For example, under the theme of water reclamation for agricultural use, the day began at a large water treatment plant, continued on to seeing the route the water made to the fields, and concluded with an interview on site with a farmer to hear his input.
The journalists’ reactions to the tour were very positive. Christina Petrick- Löhr of Germany’s WeltN24 said, “”The way water management in Israel works is really admirable. I was there almost 30 years ago, when most of the country was a dry desert. And now we saw green fields with potatoe-plants, avocado trees and cotton and growing cities!
Also the fact that Israel has the ability to provide a growing population with clean water without disturbing the fragile environment sounds like a miracle. In a lot of ways Israel´s water management is a role model for countries all over the world. And even if my country – Germany – obviously has enough natural resources of water, there are techniques for saving and cleaning that are very interesting for us.”
Artur Rodrigues Rocha Neto, reporter at Folha de S.Paulo, said: “We are facing a big water crisis in São Paulo, Brazil, where I live. It’s impressive how Israel has solved it’s problem with much less water resources. The desalination is a showcase known all over the world, but what most impressed me was how Israel has solved the lack of water for agriculture using wastewater. This solution would be very usefull in my country.”
Adi Yefet, head of the water sector at Israel NewTech, concluded: “There has never been so much positive coverage in so many leading international newspapers on Israel’s water industry success. This is due to the water challenges in places around the globe, like California, to Israel’s successful case study and technology companies, and to our own PR effots. I feel like we’re riding a great wave of positive publicity which is setting up WATEC to be a very successful event.”