Israel Blog: Technological solutions for California’s water problems

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“Wisdom in every drop” was the tag line for WATEC 2015, the technology and environment-focused water conference held in Tel Aviv, Israel. The California delegation — led once again by political figures, academics, NGOs, financiers and forward thinking members of our business sector — discussed how best to successfully change the water culture and how best to lead on the implementation of solutions for California’s dire drought situation.

In July, I wrote about the history of water in Israel and the valued culture Israel has fostered toward our precious resource. Today I write about the necessity of contending with difficult and adverse climate and geographical conditions that MUST be supported by the entrepreneurial culture. Israel has become a globally unique water solution hub.

It is clear today that advanced technologies are the key to a more efficient exploitation of natural resources. The most significant challenge in the California water arena is reducing pressure on our natural water resources (water, energy, minerals). It is estimated that new technologies and smart water solutions will contribute to the provision of almost two-thirds of the additional quantities of water required in future decades.

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Some interesting comments from speakers at WATEC:

“El Niño winter expectations in Southern California will not affect the drought conditions when we need the rain in Northern California to fill our reservoirs. We are somewhat turned upside down. We need snow pack to increase our water supply in the north, not rain to create storm water havoc on our infrastructure and pollution in our oceans in the south” — California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

“NASA studies show that California can be on the horizon of a permanent drought.” – Carolina Hernandez, senior civil engineer for the Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts

“Despite the attention and money, we are only scratching the surface. Too many legislators are fixated on old ways and plagues the debates, and we are not informed by current science” –  California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom.

“California needs climate adaptation strategies and implementation tools. Future research and future infrastructure investments.” – Raphael Semiat, president of the Israel Desalination Society and professor at The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

“Californians support funding water solutions by bond measure approvals, though that money is spent by politicians on water storage and water dams — not conservation, technologies, or reuse” – California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom

L.A. County Public Works has adopted the following surface and ground water recharge solutions under the Los Angeles County Flood Control District: 10 percent stormwater capture from the L.A. River; 90 percent stormwater capture from the San Gabriel River, according to Carolina Hernandez, senior civil engineer for the Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts

In January 2016, Sustainability Matters will collaborate with the U.S.-Israel Center at the UCSD Rady School of Business and IDE Technologies to bring together and host California and Israel business executives, water utility engineers, political decision-makers and leading researchers as the next step to generate viable solutions to our water crisis as a result of WATEC 2015.


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