While the major snowstorms in parts of the US and Europe this winter have gotten a lot of the headlines, a much bigger story is the ongoing drought in many parts of the world, including parts of the United States, Asia, Australia, and elsewhere. In California, for example, authorities have imposed emergency measures to deal with what some scientists have called the country’s worst drought in 500 years.
On his visit to California last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement with California Governor Jerry Brown to, among other things, export Israeli water technology to California to help the state better cope with drought. “Through this agreement, California and Israel will build on their respective strengths in research and technology to confront critical problems we both face, such as water scarcity, cybersecurity and climate change,” said Brown. Of the seven areas the agreement specifies for cooperation, water conservation and management is listed first.
What does Israel know about water technology that could now help California? For one, it’s not facing a water shortage, as a little-noticed news release by Israel’s Water Authority revealed several weeks ago – despite the driest winter in decades. With winter almost over and no substantial precipitation falling since December’s snowstorm, Israelis should by rights be facing a major water crisis. But thanks to good planning of the water economy – including use of desalinated and recycled water – the country’s natural water stores, such as Lake Kinneret are, if not full, at least in good enough shape to last until next winter without falling to dangerously low levels.
And California won’t be the first location in the US to use Israeli water technology to help with the ravages of drought, or to prevent water waste. Ohio, for example, has long used Israeli water tech to save water and prevent waste. In 2012, the City of Akron signed a deal with Mei Netanya, the water distribution company in the city and its surroundings, for the development of joint projects. A number of Israeli water technology companies have set up operations in an incubator run by the city. Among the Israeli companies working with Akron is Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, which in 2012 signed a deal with the city to bring the company’s water monitoring and conservation methods to Akron.
One of the Israeli companies working in Akron is Innovative Communications Solutions (ICS), which is developing a water security system for the city, in conjunction with another Israeli firm, Whitewater Security. The two Israeli companies have already developed a similar solution for Jerusalem’s water system, using cameras and sensors to ensure that unauthorized personnel do not approach reservoirs, and that the water is safe to drink.
This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on their site, click here.
Photo: Vlad Butsky