For those Palestinians and Israelis working together on the ground in the water
sector, cooperation has become a necessity – but on a business- to-business
level rather than at governmental scale.
“Individuals and entrepreneurs
find it easier to cooperate than governments,” Shukri Haramy, director of MEDCO, told a conference in
Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon.
Haramy was speaking at a session on
regional water cooperation at the Water Technology and Environmental Control
(WATEC) Exhibition and Conference in Tel Aviv, organized annually by the Israel
Trade Fairs Center and Kenes exhibition company. To build water infrastructure
from naught in the Palestinian Authority, representatives from many outlets –
including Israeli manufacturers – have had to “work together,” but on a
private-sector, and not a governmental, level, Hamary explained.
business people, it’s very simple [to cooperate],” Haramy said. “And there’s
benefit for both [sides].
When you have a win-win situation, you always
Hamary is involved in the ongoing overhaul of the
Palestinian water sector on a macro level, funded for years by USAID. The
current stage of the program will encompass more than a decade, and it involves
a basic water infrastructure overhaul to bring potable water to areas of the
West Bank still lacking the resource. Many suppliers, Hamary has found, have
been Israeli manufacturers.
“The will sort of exists – everyone wants to
help,” he said. “It’s a major step forward to the better understanding to
Another, much newer cooperative project taking place in the West
Bank is a group of pilot programs that has been running for about a year in the
village of Auja, separating gray from black wastewater, explained Avraham
Israeli, president of the Israel Water Association. Others involved in the
project include Dr. Clive Lipchin of the Arava Institute of Environmental
Studies and Mansour Hind of the Palestinian Wastewater Group of
“Together, we got into this project,” Israeli told The
Jerusalem Post. “The gray water is recycled and going back into greenhouse
It’s a very good example of how cooperation and technology
can bring at least local solutions.”
One of the innovators aiming to be
involved in the larger program is Mapal Green Energy, whose fine floating-
bubbles aeration system does not require expensive treatment-facility
construction nor the use of energy intensive systems, according to the firm. By
incorporating its technology into the future Auja project, Mapal claims, energy
consumption of a municipal wastewater treatment facility there would be reduced
by 70 percent, with operation and management costs reduced up to 80 percent due
to the mobile nature of the system.
“Mapal is pleased with the
opportunity to take part in an initiative that will improve the quality of life
in the area, for both residents of Israel and its neighbors,” said Mapal CEO
Panelist Dr. Loay Hidmi, director of water supply and
sanitation at Jordanian firm SaafConsult, emphasized how crucial it is to
upgrade water technologies and to do so in the form of regional collaboration.
“Everyone understands what water means,” Hidmi said. “It’s simple, it’s vital,
it’s important. That’s why it provides for us an excellent forum on which
to start communication.”