“Let There Be Water,” a just published book on Israel’s successful water industry, outlines the blueprint for Israel’s successful water management case study. An interview with author Seth M. Siegel.
When Seth M. Siegel started researching how Israel became a success story in the water arena, one of the first people he interviewed was head of Israel NewTech Oded Distel. “As I outline in the book, Israel NewTech is perhaps the best example of a partnership between government and business, that can benefit a country, and the world,” explains Siegel.
The book, “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water Starved World”, which was based on over 200 interviews with leaders in Israel’s water arena, is drawing a lot of attention. It was just covered in The Wall Street Journal and other leading outlets, and Siegel is currently on a book tour, visiting TV studios and giving interviews across the U.S. The timing of the book has been serendipitous, coinciding with the growing water crisis in California and other regions of the U.S. and the world.
We asked Siegel how he was inspired to write about Israel’s water case study: “Three years ago I began reading about the impending global water crisis. As an avid consumer of media, I was shocked at how little this issue was covered in the mainstream media. I discovered Israel’s outstanding example, and it was a great opportunity to highlight a positive angle on Israel.”
Siegel’s book covers in-depth the different efforts and reasons behind Israel’s success, from centralized government control of the water system, to a frugal approach to pricing, and of course innovation and advanced technologies. We asked him if he could identify the most important lesson that a water-strapped state or nation can learn and implement.
“The most important piece of advice I can offer from my analysis of the Israeli case study, is that planning really matters. Its crucial to plan for the long term, and I know that governments often have a hard time doing this, they often focus on solving urgent short-term problems. Israel is currently planning its water approach through to 2050. The main reason that today in 2015 this country that is over 60% desert has so much water that it is actually exporting some of it, is that it began planning decades ago.”
Israel NewTech, the government program founded in 2006 to support and advance Israel’s water industry, is a key player in Israel’s planning efforts, and is thoroughly covered in “Let There Be Water.” “Oded Distel and his team do a really terrific job of coordinating between government and industry, between Israeli companies and the international water arena. This is a model that can and should be implemented elsewhere,” concludes Siegel.
WATEC 2015, which took place last week in Tel Aviv, brought together thousands of visitors from abroad to learn more about the Israeli model, at the conference, and to be exposed to the different water companies and technologies, at the exhibition. “The book does a great job of demonstrating all the elements of Israel’s approach to the water issue, and the buzz it is generating around WATEC will surely raise the level of interest even more,” said Oded Distel.