JNF USA Holds 5,000 Strong Water Summit in Washington D.C.

August 10, 2016 12:52
4 minute read.



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250 Key Influencers in D.C. Discuss Israel and JNF’s Water Solutions for a ‘Water-Starved World’

July 6, 2016: New York, NY— Jewish National Fund USA’s (JNF USA) Washington, D.C.-Israel Water Summit proved an inspiring and thought-provoking event, rounding out a year-long series of Water Summits that reached more than 5,000 people across the United States, educating the public on how Israel’s achievements with water solutions and technologies can help solve the global water crisis.

On June 30, 250 U.S. government officials, foreign government representatives, NGOs, water experts, and environmentalists came to the nation’s capital and took part in an all-day summit to learn about the water challenges facing the U.S. and how techniques developed and perfected in Israel can help alleviate water needs across the country. The summit capped JNF USA’s year-long Water Summits where participants walked away equipped with the knowledge needed to converse not only about local water issues, but also about global water issues, and engage policy makers, urban planners, and water utility executives on incorporating new systems to mitigate drought, rethink flood irrigation and invest in software to detect leaks that contribute to the loss of hundreds of millions of gallons of water each day.

Israel, a country that on average receives only a few inches of rainfall annually, once faced a similar water crisis now being experienced in several U.S. states. Rapid population growth and a growing agricultural economy in Israel required more water than was available through natural resources. Through techniques like drip irrigation, a vast network of reservoirs, and the world’s largest desalination program, Israel turned its water crisis into a water surplus, and now serves as a global model for successful water management.

In his keynote address, best-selling author Seth M. Siegel (Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World), said that the finale of the Water Summits in our nation’s capital sent a powerful message in addressing U.S. water challenges. “If we are going to solve our water problems, we will need all hands on board. JNF USA has played a critical role in Israel’s water transformation and its success, and the JNF Washington, D.C. Water Summit shared the best of Israel’s insights and practices so that people everywhere can have an abundant, and worry-free, water future as is enjoyed in Israel.”

Talia Tzour Avner, KKL-JNF chief Israel emissary, echoed the sentiment, and remarked: “As JNF’s Chief Israel Emissary, and as an Israeli, I take great pride in the success of JNF’s year-long Water Summit series. I cannot think of a better and more meaningful way for supporters of Israel to continue to help secure a bright and water-rich future than learning about the wonderful achievements Israel and JNF USA have accomplished. These Summits have enabled us to speak of and demonstrate groundbreaking Israeli water innovations and technologies, and they serve as a showcase of Israel’s contribution to the world and JNF USA’s role in the development of the State of Israel.” 

The Summit, hosted by JNF USA and JNF Washington, D.C. Board President Gary Kushner, and co-chaired by Drs. Chet Stein and Paul Yarowsky included: Ali Zaidi, Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science from the White House Office of Management and Budget; Michael Shapiro, Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); William Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; Professor Eilon Adar, Alain Pӧhler Chair in Hydrology and Arid Zones at Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Reuven Azar, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Israel to the U.S.; Greg Koch, Senior Director of Global Water Stewardship at the Coca-Cola Company; Christian Holmes, Global Water Coordinator at USAID; and Dr. Clive Lipchin, Director of the Center of Transboundary Water Management at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. To see the full list of the speakers, please click here.

Reflecting on the successes of JNF USA’s Water Summit series and of the D.C. Water Summit, Dr. Chet Stein, co-chair of the Summit, said: “At a time when there’s an increasing focus on water issues, JNF USA’s Washington, D.C. Water Summit proved to be extremely successful for sharing information between Israel’s experts and their American counterparts. As a significant player in the development of the knowledge and technology that has led to Israel’s world leadership in water, it is only appropriate for JNF USA to have a leading role in sharing this valuable information so we can help improve the quality of life for people across the globe.”

JNF has effectively contributed to the development of water management and conservation systems in Israel for three decades and increased total water supply by 12% setting Israel up to become a leader in water reuse. JNF’s network of 250 recycled water reservoirs provide almost half of the water used for agriculture in Israel, saving enough freshwater to meet the needs of 4.4 million people a year. To learn more about JNF’s National Water Task Force, please click here.                

While JNF USA’s Water Summits have ended, the subject remains critically important. Join IsraelH2O: A Tour on the Trail of Israel’s Water Solutions in Israel from December 1-8, 2016 to experience the cutting-edge work currently being undertaken by JNF USA and Israel. The tour’s goal is to show how a crisis can be averted while protecting our planet’s most precious resource—one that is essential to life. Register for IsraelH2O by clicking here.

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