'Israel's water infrastructure is secure, advanced'

Massachusetts-based Jeffrey Rosen touts Israel’s security technology and understanding of water issues.

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November 1, 2012 05:44
3 minute read.
Reservoir routes

reservoir 390. (photo credit: Ronit Svirsky, KKL-JNF)

 
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To protect water systems from both their own aging infrastructure and external “malevolent events,” countries must integrate advanced water monitoring systems into their infrastructure – an American water management expert said.

The expert, Jeffrey Rosen – a Massachusetts- based environmental informational specialist and senior scientist/statistician at Tetra Tech – has been responsible for conducting informational processing and managing water systems for years. Rosen has been in Israel for a week touring the country’s water sites and speaking at a conference on Wednesday sponsored by the local company Whitewater, a data monitoring and analytics firm for water infrastructure.

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Using advanced informational systems in water infrastructure can allow for early detection of bad chemical concentrations, problems with system pressure or potentially broken pipes, Rosen explained.

“These systems help us correlate customer complaints like ‘my water doesn’t smell right,’” he said. Such technological precautions can oversee aging infrastructure and ensure that purposely injected chemicals like chlorine are being pumped fast enough and are flowing in proper quantities.

Not only can employing advanced informational systems protect a water system from age and routine glitches, they can also help prevent what Rosen calls “malevolent events” – incidents that have been increasingly worrying water professionals since September 11, 2001.

“On the rare occasion when there is an attack on the system, these systems can help us identify that something is wrong,” Rosen said. “I’m talking about attacks on water quality, and also attacks on the physical infrastructure.”

If water were to suddenly stop being delivered and people panicked, serious problems could occur both locally and countrywide.



“We still need to be vigilant about it,” Rosen said. “We’re making great headway in the ability of sensors and in our ability to process the data, and our ability to know when problems need to be addressed.”

While the technology for monitoring water systems and ensuring rapid responses is certainly available, countries must begin employing these innovations, Rosen stressed.

There are risks associated with hackers infiltrating such advanced computerized systems, but far less than a decade ago, as entrepreneurs have made the technologies extremely secure, according to Rosen.

“Water really needs to step up into a new level,” he said.

Whitewater, which Rosen acknowledged he often works with on his international projects, is one such company innovating these technologies.

“Israel is bringing lots of security technology on the one hand and an understanding of water on the other hand, as well as the needs of utilities to protect their assets and quality of water,” said Issey Ende, chief business officer of the quality and security division of Whitewater.

To both Israel and the United States, employing such technologies for monitoring every inch of their water systems is crucial, Rosen stressed.

“There’s a need for vigilance as there is a need for everything that Israel does,” he said. “The water systems are just another example.” That being said, Israel thus far is in a very good place in terms of its water infrastructural management, in Rosen’s opinion.

“Israel is definitely in the right direction,” he said. “[It] is probably more in the right direction than any other country in the world.” While touring the country’s water sites, Rosen said he was impressed by new and innovative tests for microbiological contaminants, as well as the monitoring and data integration that he witnessed.

“It’s remarkable, the growth that I see in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv from when I was here six years ago,” he said.

Traveling around the country, Rosen said he felt that “a new movement” in water had taken root here that certainly rivaled that of the United States. Cooperation between the two countries would be vital to moving forward, as both need the same types of solutions, he explained.

“I don’t need to be in Israel to know that the Israeli water business is leading the world in many ways,” Rosen said.

“You have technologies here that many [countries] in the world copy and learn from.”

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