March 22 marked World Water Day, a celebration aimed at drawing worldwide attention to the need to protect water resources and develop innovation water solutions worldwide.
The day is also a nod to one of Israel’s greatest technological triumphs–turning an arid and drought-stricken land into a thriving, water-secure modern nation.
Israel’s success in water management and technologies has turned the country into a sought-after international partner among nations hoping to learn how they can better implement technology in their water planning.
Throughout Israel, high-tech desalination plants now harvest water from the sea and turn it into valuable drinking water for the Israeli people, helping the country barely notice the drought conditions currently facing the land.
“There’s no water problem because of the desalination,” said Hila Gil, director of the desalination division in the Israel Water Authority. “The problem is no longer on the agenda.”
Similar desalination projects are now being considered for drought-stricken places around the world, including California and Texas, where Israeli experts have already consulted with municipalities on ways Israeli water technologies can help solve water woes.
Israel has also helped export its drip-irrigation and water-conserving agricultural techniques, especially to the developing world.
“We say necessity is the mother of all invention, and in our case this is true,” said Naty Barak, chief sustainability officer at Netafim, referring to Israel’s development of drip irrigation in the Negev. “We were farmers without water in a desert.”
Today, Israel is helping countries like India increase its agricultural yields and save precious water resources by mentoring farmers and providing Israeli-innovated technology to help meet the changing and increasingly arid climatic conditions similar to those endured by Israel’s first farm pioneers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently boasted to California authorities that Israel had the technology and expertise to meet water challenges both at home and abroad.
“We in Israel don’t have a water problem,” Netanyahu said. “We use technology to solve it.”