WATEC 2007 - Israel's premier showcase on Water Technologies and Environmental Control - attracted hundreds of visitors from around the globe to the Trade Fairs Center in Tel Aviv. Dozens of organizations from all over the world displayed different technological solutions for conserving or developing water sources and technologies designed to regularize the environment and maintain agriculture and nature areas. KKL-JNF set up a special display in the exhibition, presenting its extensive involvement in many projects that improve environmental quality and rehabilitate water networks in Israel.
The exhibition was a tangible expression of Israel's status as "Silicon Valley" of the global water and environmental technologies market. Many countries including Australia, USA, India, Germany, Austria, Turkey, France and Belgium displayed their products in WATEC: the issues of water and environmental technologies have acquired central places in the world. About two billion people worldwide suffer from water shortage - particularly lacking drinking water and this water shortage is expected to worsen over the years. The world's population is expanding and quantities of available water are declining as the result of global warming. Israel, which has always had to struggle with a shortage of water, has developed extensive skills to address these risk situations and now shares them with many countries - often through KKL-JNF.
At the exhibition, Moshe Cohen, KKL-JNF Director of Development Projects said that "KKL-JNF's booth in the exhibition displays our involvement in the water system and in environmental protection in Israel: caring for forests, rehabilitating the country's riverbeds, the 200 water reservoirs that we have built all over the country, most of them for purified sewage water that is used for irrigation by the local farmers. In addition, we remove most of the polluting elements from water sources and from rivers and then transfer the water so that it can be used profitably in agriculture. In restoring the river channels, the aim of our efforts is to bring back clean water to the river courses, removing the contamination, the refuse and the sewage.
"Here at the WATEC Exhibition we display our work in the catchment basin north of Lake Kinneret - the Sea of Galilee - starting with the Baram and Naftali forests and in the Golan Heights, and then further south in the Hulah Valley Project, with all its tourist aspects. What this project does, in fact, is to protect the water in the Kinneret, preventing pollution from reaching it. At this very moment, Lake Hulah is hosting half-a-billion cranes and pelicans that cross over our land every year. All the knowledge that we possess, we disseminate worldwide, both at conferences that we ourselves initiate and at others in which we participate. KKL- JNF's matrix of colors is brown - for the earth, blue - for water, and green is forestry and agriculture. They are the colors in KKL-JNF's new logo and they definitely symbolize how we operate -assisting, developing and preserving the environment, our agriculture and the water network in Israel."
Dorit Sadovsky, KKL-JNF representative at WATEC, receives visitors gracefully and with detailed explanations about KKL-JNF's activities. She points out that the work of the organization enables the development or fruition of many different technologies on display at the booths in WATEC. "KKL-JNF has a cardinal role in protecting and tending our open spaces. Its policy is based on sustainable development, in order to ensure the environment for future generations." She expands on Moshe Cohen's words, mentioning other projects in which KKL-JNF is involved. "There are our research studies about farming in the different regions of Israel; we give advice to farmers on conditions for growing, irrigating and fertilizing; we assist in the development of agriculture for export; we expand water farming in arid areas in the south of Israel and we find solutions for diseases in the soil and for pests. For example, two of our projects are the enormous hothouses in the area of Paran in the Aravah, and a project in cooperation with Jordan, to deal with the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Previously it damaged over 260 varieties of local vegetables and fruit in the region. Now that danger no longer exists."
Many visitors came to KKL-JNF's display from countries such as Czechoslovakia, Kenya, Thailand, Canada, Greece and the USA. They asked questions about life in the desert and about the water reservoirs that KKL-JNF is constructing. Dorit was happy to hand out different KKL-JNF publications that provide much useful information on WATEC issues. Visitors expressed their admiration for KKL-JNF's research surveys that are of practical use in many other countries worldwide.
One of the visitors at the KKL-JNF display was Uri, 70-years old and a member of a kibbutz near Afula, in the Lower Galilee. With shining eyes, he explained that "I still remember so clearly the KKL-JNF Blue Box that was always in the kibbutz dining room when I was a kid, and I remember how kibbutzniks placed in whatever cash they could." Dorit nodded her head in understanding of how far the Blue Box has come: to enable 21st century technologies. "For many of the people who come to this exhibition, KKL-JNF is a good memory and now arouses great emotion. You say "KKL-JNF" and people smile."
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