A panel of experts provided vital information on the critical issue of water management and sustainability in today’s NGO-led briefing. Talking about water conservation, Sharon Megdal said that we should not only discuss technological solutions but we should think about ways in which individuals and smaller organizations can conserve water. The issues of persuasion and education, she said, especially the education of youth are important. Youth are an opportunity for the future, she emphasized. She also said that cooperation between states is the way forward for the water issue.
Mr. Lipchin explained the concept of chronic water scarcity. He said that the ability to meet basic needs for water and sanitation is below 500m3/capita/year. While noting that the Middle East is a region of water scarcity, he said that Israel, Jordan and Palestine are all below this threshold. Israel has been able to meet an increasing demand for water through desalination and treatment of waste water for agricultural use. Initially the idea of using treated waste water was thought to have an impact on crop yield due to the low quality of water. However, Mr. Lipchin said that there has been an increase in crop yield. He also highlighted a challenge that Israel and its neighbors face. Almost everything in the region in terms of water is transboundary. The Arab institute is trying to address this issue cooperatively, solving not only Israel’s problems but also of its neighbors, including Palestine and Jordan.
Mr. Siegel shed light on drip irrigation, a process invented by Israel. In drip irrigation, water is dripped on the roots and the rest of the field does not get irrigated because it is of no value. 75% of all irrigated fields in Israel use it. It improves the crop yield and addresses the issues of food security, carbon footprint, water scarcity and gender issues.
Meeting Title: Every Drop of Water Makes A Difference
Speakers: Joseph Hess, JNF Vice President, Government Relations; Sharon B. Megdal, PhD., Director, Water Resources Research Center, The University of Arizona; Clive Lipchin, PhD., Director, Center for Transboundary Water Management, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Seth M. Siegel, J.D., Co-founder of Beanstalk, Sixpoint Partners and Vringo, and writer on water issues.
Date: 19 June 2014
Location: Conference Room 4 (NLB), UN Headquarters New York
Written by WIT Representative: Shan Cheema
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan