Water summits bring Israel know-how to work in U.S.


With a global water crisis upon us and Israel having gone from water deprived to water abundant, Jewish National Fund has announced that it is sharing Israel’s drought solutions in the United States by launching of a series of water summits beginning Oct. 26 in Chicago.

At each summit, keynote speaker Seth M. Siegel, author of the soon-to-be-released book, “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World,” will discuss global water issues and Israel’s successes in water governance, infrastructure and technology. In addition, a panel of regional experts will confer on local challenges and breakout sessions will bring participants together to formulate plans to meet long-term water needs.  

“We are on the brink of a global water crisis and California’s drought is only the beginning,” said Siegel. “The U.S. government predicts that 40 of our 50 states — and 60 percent of the earth’s land surface — will soon face alarming gaps between the supply and growing demand for water. Without immediate action, food prices will rise, economic growth will slow, and political instability is likely to follow.”

JNF’s network of 250 recycled water reservoirs provide almost half of the water used for agriculture in Israel, saving enough freshwater to meet the needs of 4.4 million people a year. With JNF’s assistance, more than 85 percent of the sewage water in Israel is recycled and reused, the highest rate in the world. To put that into context, Spain comes in a distant second, reusing 17 percent of its wastewater, and the U.S, at 5 percent.