Forty water industry professionals from the U.S., in Israel for a JNF delegation tour, met forty Israel water technology companies in a cocktail event organized by Israel NewTech, at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv on December 5th.
“The objective was to expose the U.S. water industry representatives to as many Israeli companies as possible, and to open doors for cooperation,” says Adi Yefet, Head of the water sector at Israel NewTech.
The delegates were in Israel for the Jewish National Fund expedition, entitled “IsraelH2O: A Tour on the Trail of Israel’s Water Solutions,” which was covered by The Jerusalem Post. Following are excerpts from that article:
While mostly from the United States, with a particularly strong representation from Colorado, the participants also included four Thai government workers and a representative of the United Nations Development Program.
The H2O Tour is the culmination of a series of “Water Summits” that JNF held in the past year across the United States, which took place in partnership with Seth M. Siegel, author of the bestselling book on Israel’s water sector, “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World.” Chaired by Robert Lembke of Colorado, the tour was directed by Talia Tzour Avner, KKL-JNF chief Israel emissary in New York.
“We thought it would be great if we could arrange a water mission to Israel to follow the steps of development and success of JNF and the State of Israel in the water field and water economy,” Tzour Avner said. “What we found out was there was great interest from water professionals from the US and other countries.”
With a diverse array of participants hailing from academia, the water industry, government, and general interest in water, Tzour Avner stressed that each participant is approaching the trip from a different angle, through a different lens. JNF is hoping to expose the participants to the miracles that the Israeli water industry is creating and to garner support for water projects in Israel and to develop the country’s periphery.
On Sunday the group began their day in the North, learning about water filtration mechanisms at Amiad Water Systems and then moving southward to discuss transboundary water pollution issues at an Emek Hefer reclamation facility – ending the day in Tel Aviv. Prior to their arrival at the Shafdan wastewater treatment plant on Monday, the group also saw the nearby Sorek desalination facility, and would later in the day hear lectures on Israeli water technologies back in Tel Aviv.
From Tuesday through Thursday, the participants were scheduled to visit relevant sites in the Negev Desert and in Jerusalem, such as JNF’s Nahal Besor reservoirs, which aim to trap floodwater that rushes through the Negev’s longest river as well as containing recycled water from the Shafdan. They were also slated to see JNF’s Be’er Sheva River Park, a restoration project constructed for the city, and meet with representatives of Hagihon, Jerusalem’s water and wastewater utility.
Because the water solutions demonstrated during the tour could be valuable to a variety of countries around the world, the hosts also invited a UN representative to participate.
The UN expert who joined the trip was Anne Juepner, the Nairobi-based director of the UNDP’s Global Policy Center on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification. Juepner expressed her interest in sharing Israel’s water sector experience through UNDP channels, stressing that the country has made enormous progress in water efficiency and recycling.
“It’s very impressive to see the technological solutions for Israel’s water issues,” she said. “Some of the aspects will certainly be of interest to other countries.”