This post is the second in a series by Sustainability Matters CEO Kristen Victor. Read the previous post here.
We spent the day at the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies focusing on new models for financing water sustainability. Our conversation covered topics including a comparison of the water context in Israel and California; monitoring and water efficiency; water recycling and water quality; desalination; aquifer management; agricultural use of water; solutions for a sustainable water economy; and opportunities for co-innovation on policy and projects.
Leaning in around the table were Israeli leaders in water engineering, policy and technology who shared their knowledge and experiences with California academics, political leaders and business owners. The conversation was facilitated by Glenn Yago of the Milken Innovation Center.
The Israeli experts talked about the need to look to the future to create water sustainability. This means developing a current master plan to help us achieve our future goals. They also talked about the need for environmental groups to align their messages with the needs of the population and work together to establish clear plans for the future.
A few other thoughts from all who gathered together today:
The top issues creating scarcity in California’s water supply include: severe drought, water importation, aging water infrastructure, increased salinity of groundwater, water distribution distances and contamination
Our areas of opportunity in California relating to water resiliency include: conjunctive use — providing incentives and regulations for multiple solutions; the data and information needed to make incentives and changes; technology and innovation; governance alignments; and private/public partnerships.
The future of water resiliency technology includes: smart meters, water quality monitoring, efficient water use, smart irrigation, gray water, leak detection (undetected leaks can lead to a 20 to 30 percent loss), wastewater re-use, reduction of water evaporation in conveyance systems, desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater, water storage, water forecasting and renewable energy sources for water conveyance and treatment.
A full day spent together was far too little time. There was so much discovery filled with knowledge, expertise and collaborative effort. Today marks the beginning of relevant and valuable water resiliency conversations — supported by action-oriented relationships between California and Israel, driven by thoughtful planning for the future, and with a strategic and solution-based approach.
We’re all exhilarated by the opportunities, awed by the people, driven by the innovation in application technologies, and empowered by the common thread of passion woven through each and every one of us leaning in around the table today.
Read the next post in the series: Day 3.