the afternoon of the first really wintry day of the Manitoba Israel Water
Experts Symposium, a huge double rainbow spanned the entire . Totally amazed, the scientists quickly disembarked from the
bus that was taking them through the Hula Lake Nature Reserve in the pouring
rain. The rare and magnificent spectacle made everyone feel as if they were
children again and they made no effort whatsoever to repress their cries of
joy, accompanied by the clicking of cameras.
unique experience was possibly a highlight of the fourth day of the bi-national
symposium, a day of practical lectures by the Canadian and Israeli
is the only Israeli counterpart of what is called "wetlands" in . ,
with its scenic lookouts, observation points and facilities, was restored and
developed with the ongoing help of friends of KKL-JNF worldwide. Before and
during the visit, symposium participants received detailed explanations about
the history of the original , the way it was
drained and the ecological ramifications of draining the swamps. Dr. Moshe
Gophen and Dr. Doron Markel described how the current project had
been carried out, the improvement over the past six years on the quality
of the water from and the
revival of intensive agriculture in the extensive peat lands of the drained .
Another highlight of the day awaited the group at the bird ringing station
operating on one of the islands, where they
received professional explanations and were actually given demonstrations of
bird- ringing by Nadav Yisraeli, the station director. It was very
touching to see young Talia Friedman, the daughter of the KKL-JNF
development coordinator in ,
holding on her hand, a little kingfisher that lay on his back perfectly still,
until she turned him over - when he flew away.
magical visit concluded with a meeting over cups of hot cider at the lake's
pelican observation spot, as the oncoming evening caused the tens of thousands
of cranes who spend the night in the waters of the lake, to increase the volume
of their cries.
participants who are not scientists went for a visit to the town of and the city of
, as part
of KKL-JNF's way to illustrate to its guests the history of the Jewish presence
and the history of the rebirth of the state of and the Zionist movement.
The guests visited Rosh Pina's historical buildings and toured through the city
taking in the mystic, religious atmosphere that permeates its alleyways.
spoke with Malcolm Conly, a researcher at the National Canadian Water
Studies Institute and a member of the
regional research committee in .
As a devout Christian, he was quite unprepared for his first visit to Israel,
coming as he did with religious feelings, a little historical knowledge and
several preconceived notions about current affairs in Israel 'that are
disappearing from minute to
minute.' "It's not true at all that
people live in fear in .
There is absolutely no sense of insecurity. Before I came, I was afraid that I
would feel uncomfortable from time to time but that is not the case - the
opposite is true!"
like the other scientists, did not come to as a tourist but for purely
professional reasons. "During the symposium, we talk a great deal about
the huge difference in size between
Everybody was saying that alone
is bigger than all of .
It turns out, however, that although there are some who think we should talk in
terms of similar proportions and relate to the entire as compared to the , our
discussions focus exclusively on . My feeling is that there is
place for a fundamental change in Israeli thinking. When I see how much energy
is invested in pumping water from the Kinneret, which is below sea level, to
the level of the National Water Carrier, I can't help but compare this to the
amount of energy necessary to operate a desalination plant, which would produce
a similar amount of water. A way must be found to create a process of regional
cooperation for desalination, although I have no idea of how to go about it in
the present geopolitical atmosphere."Conly feels that
have much in common regarding research projects critical for both and .
"We share processes connected to the infiltration of chemical pollutants
into water sources and bodies of water and there are differences between us,
mainly to do with the different climates. The results of your measurements and
studies provide us with tools to better understand the processes that are
taking place in
and to ask ourselves if we are, in fact, doing what we can to implement
solutions. From our side, we share our accumulated experience caring for
shallow lakes and swamps and data we have amassed in ongoing studies on the
influence of agriculture on water quality, the effect of the flow of nitrate
compounds from drainage basins to lakes and rivers, water purification
processes and use of purified effluents. It turns out that we still have a lot
to learn from you about reuse of purified effluents!"
For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org