Israeli water expert Beni Lew toured Brazil, bringing news from Israel’s water industry and technologies to this severely water strapped country.
Everyone’s talking about the drought in California, but in Brazil there are actually places where the faucets are running dry. Beni Lew, a lecturer specializing in water and wastewater at Israel’s Volcani Center, just returned from a tour of Brazil, organized by Israel NewTech, the Economic Office in São Paulo and the Israel Export Institute. We asked him about the situation in Brazil and what Israel can do to help.
“There was a campaign in Israel recently ‘Israel is drying up’ to encourage the population to save water, but actually it’s Brazil which is drying up,” says Lew. “São Paulo’s water reservoir, Cantareira, is almost empty, at only 5%, and there have been times when parts of the city have been cut off from the water supply altogether. Brazil is looking to Israel, where they know water resources are very limited, for technologies to help confront their water shortages.”
The tour began on August 3rd in Pernambuco in the north of Brazil, in a meeting with 80 local water experts, including the president of that state’s water utility. The next day Lew lectured in Brasilia and met with government officials active in the water arena, and ended in São Paulo, where Lew presented at two events, including Fenasan, Brazil’s largest water event.
“Beni Lew was the perfect person to present on Israel’s water arena,” says Boaz Albaranes, Israel’s Economic Attaché in São Paulo. “The audience was always pleasantly surprised to hear him speak in fluent Portuguese, and he presented in a way that was accessible, but also with a level of expertise that enabled him to address every question that arose.”
One of the tour’s main objectives was to encourage Brazilian delegations to arrange to come to the WATEC 2015 event, to take place in October in Tel Aviv. “I think we were able to raise a lot of interest, and I would be happy to invite Beni Lew again to Brazil,” concluded Albaranes.
So what technologies were of greatest interest to the Brazilian water professionals? “In the north there is a lot of interest in irrigation technologies for agriculture,” explains Lew, since it’s a heavily agricultural area. “And everyone everywhere is interested in desalination and wastewater purification, because of the severe water shortages. I believe there is a lot that Israeli companies can do to help Brazil’s water sector.”