Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 3: WATEC

WATEC is a 20,000 person international convention with representatives from 97 countries. It is primarily a showcase for Israeli equipment and technology. I had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a breakout session called "Doing Business with North America". This particular panel was talking about challenges and opportunities in water.

They come to this conference because Israel may manage their water resources better than anyone. They get 11 inches of rain on average per year. (The Negev Desert in southern Israel that we visted yesterday is lucky to receive a half inch per year.) Every drop of water is used four times. Every roof top has rainwater collection systems.

The agricultural areas are irrigated with treated sewage through an extensive purple pipe system. The pipes are literally purple so that people know not to drink the water.

By 2015, the Israelis have set a goal to not rely on the 11 inches of rain. They are then not hampered as much by drought. By then, they will have two new desalinization plants online and 1/3 of their water will come from desalinization.

The Government owns all the water, and for that matter, all of the land, except for approximately 6% that the Arabs own. The land is leased under long term agreements to individuals and businesses. It is obvious that owning the land makes infrastructure management easier.

After my presentation, we met with at least half a dozen businesses that were interested in collaborating in some way with South Carolina. Some of the ideas appear revolutionary. I took ownership of one that involves using enzymes to improve the disinfection of private swimming pools.

Tonight we had dinner at Deputy Ambassador Tom Goldberger's home. Beautiful house, great dinner, fun day.

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