KKL-JNF presented their wide variety of activities in developing water sources to a fascinated public from Israel and abroad at the Watec – Water Technologies Exhibition, which was held at the Exhibition Fairgrounds in Tel Aviv from November 15th – 17th 2011.
The Watec convention offers field experts and professionals, diplomats, and members of the public interested in ecology, renewable energy, and water technology, an opportunity to meet. The convention presents an opportunity to exchange information, keep up to date with the latest developments, and to make local and international contacts. Dozens of organizations hosted booths at the exhibition where they presented technological developments, products, and services concerning water. A convention was also held alongside the exhibition that included lectures, panels, and professional discussions.
The booth belonging to KKL-JNF aroused a great deal of interest among visitors from all around the world, who came to learn about the extensive and innovative projects of KKL-JNF in the water technology field, such as building water reservoirs, rehabilitating rivers, purifying wastewater, managing wetlands, and developing parks. All these projects have been accomplished with the help of friends of KKL-JNF from all over the world.
"KKL-JNF has been working in the field of water for the past 30 years, and our objective is to expose the general public to these activities," explained Moshe Cohen, Director of Development Projects at KKL-JNF. Cohen, a hydraulic engineer, explained that he first came to KKL-JNF intending to become involved in developing new water sources. "Our projects contribute to agriculture in Israel's periphery and to the environmental quality and the water economy in the country as a whole," Cohen added.
Israel is considered a world leader in water recycling, which, among other things, is due to the 220 water reservoirs built by KKL-JNF throughout the country, using purified wastewater and runoff. This water is recycled for agricultural use, and provides about half the water used for agriculture in Israel.
The field of water recycling aroused particular interest among one of the visitors at the KKL-JNF booth, Lisa McFarland from the United States, who heads an organization for aiding Third World countries. She was extremely impressed with the KKL-JNF projects and expressed a desire to begin cooperating and acquiring professional knowledge. "Recycling water and treating sewage are issues that concern the entire world," explained McFarland. "In the Third World this is not a question of quality of life, but often the difference between life and death. I'm sure that we can learn a lot from the vast experience of KKL-JNF."
Another important area that KKL-JNF is working in is the rehabilitation of polluted rivers. This involves eliminating pollutants, rehabilitating the landscape, preserving the soil, and developing parks. Ronen Zahavi, a senior co-coordinator in the area of water and sewage in the Ministry of Ecology, was among the visitors to the KKL-JNF booth. "It is extremely important that we cooperate with KKL-JNF, which has contributed a great deal to protecting the environment," explained Zahavi. "In recent years we have seen a lot of progress in rehabilitating rivers. This is due, among other things, to the involvement of KKL-JNF."
KKL-JNF is a leading force behind modern treatment of runoff water that flows through city streets. The biofilter technology was developed in Australia, and KKL-JNF is promoting its implementation in Israel with support from Friends of KKL-JNF Australia. The urban water that reaches the biofilter undergoes biological purification using a layer of vegetation. After the process is completed the water can be used for gardening and even for penetration into the groundwater. The entire facility blends into the urban surroundings and looks like an attractive green garden. Such a biofilter is already operating in Kfar Saba, and another two are planned in the near future.
Another unique project for purifying pollutants is the Green Basins project in the Yarkon. The project involves building shallow pools containing indigenous vegetation that serve as a natural habitat for bacteria. The bacteria decompose remnants of pesticides, hormones, and chemical materials, subsequently improving the quality of the water. The purified water flows into the central section of the Yarkon, ensuring a permanent source of good quality water for the river. In this way it aids in the rehabilitation of the ecosystem of the river and its surroundings. Experimental green basins have also been built in Dimona in the south and in Sachnin in the north.
These projects drew Dr. Alena Kalmakova from Belarus University to the KKL-JNF booth. As a researcher in the field of decomposition of pollutants in water, she expressed her belief that cooperation with KKL-JNF and Israel could also make a contribution to her country.
Yuri Oziranski, head advisor for courses for the Ministry of Agriculture, came to the exhibition as an escort for representatives from the former Soviet Union within the framework of a course in water management and ecology. Members of the group listened to explanations about the activities of KKL-JNF with great interest. Afterwards Oziranski remarked, "There is no doubt that there are a lot of things that are being done in Israel that are relevant to other countries as well."
Between explanations, Iris Nevo, KKL-JNF's representative at the booth, helped people subscribe to e-Yarok, KKL-JNF's online magazine for trips and local news. "People can get closer to the various areas that KKL-JNF is working in by taking trips into the field," explained Iris. KKL-JNF's participation in the exhibition offers an opportunity to expose professionals and visitors from Israel and from abroad to the work that we are doing."
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