This post is the first in a series by CEO Kristen Victor.
If the Holy Land is the spiritual core of the world’s major religions, Jerusalem is the epicenter. Our conversation tonight surrounded the commonality of water and creating peace on behalf of water. Water symbolizes learning in Judaism. Water is life.
We gathered at the beautiful overlook, the Haas Promenade at the Tayelet, where we learned about the history of water in Jerusalem. We continued our conversation at the fabulously beautiful restaurant Teenim, overlooking the Old City, enjoying dusk to dark, with the beautifullights and gardens illuminating our evening within the walls of the Old City.
Today I joined a group of thought leaders — Glenn Yago, Director of the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Innovation Studies; fellows from the UCSD Rady School of Business; the UC Berkeley chancellor’s office; Lori Glasgow, a representative of L.A. County Supervisor Antonovich; Scott Houston, director of the West Basin Municipal Water District in the L.A. area; and former California Treasurer Kathleen Brown — to begin to touch on the possibilities of mutual collaboration between California and Israel to support the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on water resiliency signed by California Governor Jerry Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A few facts stick out so far: 60 percent of agricultural water in Israel is recycled, and 85 percent of the irrigation in Israel is drip irrigation. In California, just 38 percent of irrigation is drip irrigation. The above-ground irrigation common on many California farms is known as “flood irrigation.” The agricultural economy in California alone is worth $7 billion.
Today, I believe there is money, innovation and hope in water for both Israel and California. My journey to Israel is supported by the UCSD Rady Business School, U.S.-Israel Center on Innovation & Economic Sustainability, as a partner in the California-Israel MOU between Gov. Brown and PM Netanyahu. Our goal at the California-Israel Water Innovation Lab is to create public, private and academic partnerships based on collaborative efforts to implement successful, actionable projects supporting the criteria outlined within the MOU.
Read the next post in the series: Day 2.