Leading water experts, elected officials and academic leaders are discussing how Israel’s innovative water technology can provide relief to the San Diego region and the rest of California, which is experiencing one of the worst drought’s on record.
Following an initial meeting last week, the group toured the new desalination plant in Carlsbad – the largest in the Western Hemisphere – built with Israeli technology.
Attendees included San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez, Vista City Councilmember Amanda Rigby, San Marcos City Councilmember Kristal Javara, UCSD Professors Ayelet Gneezy and Tal Golan, Sustainability Matters CEO Kristen Victor, and Brian Eliot with Congressman Scott Peter’s office.
The U.S.—Israel Center on Innovation & Economic Sustainability (USIC) at the Rady School of Management brought a total of 35 leaders together on Wednesday, Sept. 2 at the Leichtag Foundation Ranch in Encinitas to discuss water, conservation, the drought, and what lessons can be taken from Israel’s solutions.
“I want to thank the U.S.—Israel Center on Innovation & Economic Sustainability for hosting a most informative tour and discussion,” Alvarez said. “The partnership between California and Israel is most valuable in many areas, including learning more about water conservation. I look forward to more opportunities for dialogue and a continued partnership.”
Set to open later this year, the Carlsbad desalination plant will provide quality drinking water to more than 300,000 people and will be powered by renewable energy. The plant tour was led by Israel-based IDE Technologies, which supplied the technology used in the desalination project.
A quarter of Israel’s water supply comes from three desalination plants and it recycles 85 percent of its water, more than any other nation in the world. California recycles roughly 3 percent of its water.
“By informing the key decision makers in San Diego of potential solutions we hope to advance collaborative projects with Israel,” said Susan Lapidus Executive Director of USIC. “Desalination is just one success. Others include water management, irrigation and smart water.”
USIC will be financing a trip to Israel this February for local leaders, including Councilman Alvarez, who heads the San Diego City Council’s Committee on the Environment.
Councilman Alvarez and others visiting Israel will hear and see solutions on the ground directly from Israeli water technology companies.
“California and San Diego can be a great test case for scaling up Israeli technologies in water efficiency, agriculture, desalination and smart water systems,” Lapidus said. “California is at the tipping point as far as water resources, and Israel has a lot to offer in those areas.”
The trips support a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between California and Israel signed by Governor Jerry Brown and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The MOU sets goals for mutual collaboration on water policy and water technology.
The U.S.—Israel Center on Innovation & Economic Sustainability (USIC) creates meaningful interaction and long-term collaboration between Israelis and Americans around science, technology, innovation and economic development. It aims to create scholarship and classroom offerings that would otherwise be unlikely or impossible. It accomplishes its goals with programs such as visiting scholars, academic conferences, funding research, student immersion programs and community outreach. It is USIC’s greatest hope that its collaborative efforts result in breakthroughs that change the world for the better.