(photo credit: KKL - JNF)
A variety of KKL JNF projects related to water were presented at the CleanTech exhibition, the annual international conference for clean water and energy technology, which took place in Tel Aviv this week. Participating in the event were about 150 companies from Israel and abroad presenting new developments in green technology - solar energy systems, facilities for recycling gray water, motors for more efficient use of energy, facilities for recycling waste, and many more new innovations, which place Israel at the forefront of technology for environmental protection.
There were forums and seminars at the conference on topics such as renewable energy, water shortage, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, green construction, recycling, green motor vehicles, and so on. Among the many highlights at the fair was KKL-JNF's impressive booth, which showcased the organization's work for the benefit of Israel’s water economy: construction of reservoirs and dams, biological water purification, wetlands, water wells and tourism projects.
The many visitors who stopped at the KKL JNF booth were given explanations about the reservoirs all over Israel that were constructed by KKL JNF, which provide about half of the water used for agriculture in Israel today. The reservoirs also solve the problem of what to do with effluents after treatment, and they also leave more natural freshwater for domestic use. KKL JNF's river rehabilitation projects include the removal of pollutants, landscape rehabilitation, soil preservation and park development for the benefit of the public. Among the rivers restored and rehabilitated by KKL JNF, with the assistance of its friends all over the world, are Nahal Alexander, Nahal Kishon, Nahal Harod and Nahal Besor.
KKL JNF has been pioneering in the application of an innovative technology called the biofilter, a facility for treating rainwater with biological means. Runoff from city streets is purified by layers of plants. This water may then be salvaged for irrigation and reintroduction into the aquifer. There is already one facility in operation in Kfar Saba, which was contributed by friends of KKL JNF from Australia in conjunction with Monash University, and two more facilities are planned for construction next year.
Another unique project presented was the wetlands project in the Yarkon riverbed. The effluents from the water treatment facilities in Hod Hasharon and Kfar Saba are purified in a series of pools that serve as habitats for microorganisms that decompose the remaining toxins. The clean water is then drained into the Yarkon, providing the stream with a constant source of high quality water. This project is also being undertaken thanks to the support of friends of KKL JNF in Australia, with the participation of the Yarkon River Authority.
A number of new water facilities that KKL-JNF is promoting were also presented at the booth. These include the Shamir Well in the Upper Galilee, which will produce water from an aquifer that has not been utilized until now, and the construction of a manmade lake in Nahal Beersheba Park, with recycled water from reservoirs KKL JNF has constructed in the Negev. These two projects are being financed by friends of KKL JNF in the USA.
Moshe Cohen, director of KKL-JNF's Projects Development Division, said that water projects are a crucial part of KKL JNF’s work, especially in view of the extended drought Israel has been undergoing. “It is not by chance that the KKL JNF symbol contains the color blue, which represents our work in water technology,” said Cohen.
Avri Kadmon, director of the Information Department of KKL JNF's Projects Development Division, emphasized that the projects presented at the CleanTech fair represented only a few of KKL-JNF many water-related activities. “The KKL JNF reservoirs saved agriculture in Israel. It is also because of them that we have water in our faucets 24 hours a day notwithstanding years of drought,” said Kadmon. “Utilization of waste water, and stopping its flow into waterways, allows us to rehabilitate the rivers and make them available to the public,” he said.
According to Hana Bachar, Projects Coordinator, presenting KKL-JNF's work at
the fair showcases the diversity of KKL JNF projects in this field to the general public. “I met young people here,” said Bachar, “who asked me, ‘What does KKL JNF have to do with water?’ There are still people who think KKL JNF is just about forests, and they are surprised to hear that the organization does a lot for the State of Israel in many areas.”
Elsewhere at the exhibition there was a program presented in which KKL JNF took part: Land of my Love, promoting the master plan for sustainable development in regional councils. The goal is to assist the regional councils in forming a vision and development policies for rural areas, along with preserving natural resources, caring for open spaces and collaboration with the community.
KKL JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler participated in the green city and clean technology award ceremony. “The natural resources provided for us by the earth are limited,” said Stenzler at the ceremony. “Every day, forests are cut down in the world in an area equivalent in size to 100 football fields. So far, KKL JNF has planted 240 million trees and is considered a world leader in the planting of trees in arid regions. We have constructed 222 reservoirs, and Israel is foremost in the world today with regard to recycling water. About 78% of the water in Israel is recycled. Areas that were once parched and yellow are today covered with green fields.”
The ceremony, which was emceed by Dan Kaner, was attended by MK Ofir Pines, who stated that “this is not just a battle for the quality of life but a struggle for life itself. We are part of a world fighting for its survival.”
The CEO of the Mashov Group, which organized the event, Haim Alush, said that
renewable energies are undoubtedly the right answer for the needs of the world’s population and industry. “Without CleanTech industries, the world would be heading for a disaster.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, awards were presented to the ten greenest regional councils in Israel, which were selected by a committee of judges: Kfar Saba, Holon, Hod Hasharon, Eilat, Rosh Haayin, Nes Tziyona, Shoham, Kfar Veradim, Matte Asher and Emek Hefer. Prizes were given to leading companies in the field of CleanTech, and a special lifework prize was given to Dr. Zvi Tavor, pioneer of solar energy research and inventor of the solar panel for heating water.
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