Israel's Water Technology Conference

By: Shayna Chana

While Tel Aviv is normally a cosmopolitan city, during October 22-24, it's a little bit more international than usual. People from all over the world are descending on the the Tel Aviv Convention Center for Watec ISRAEL 2013. Israel is known internationally as a country with expertise when it comes to water conservation and reclamation. It all stems from necessity unfortunately - with a notoriously arid climate, and completely dependent on rainfall for any water, since the nation was born, Israelis have been coming up with new ways to save, whether on energy or water.

The event has two components - the conference part, with lectures, breakout sessions, and other ways for leaders in the various fields of cutting edge water technology to meet and brainstorm how to do more with water, when it's limited. Lecture topics range from the best ways to conserve water, to water technologies to meet emerging markets (generally third world countries), irrigation and food security, regional water cooperation efforts, and Israel-China water and environmental partnerships. With such chashuv (important) topics being covered, it's no wonder that I saw delegations from all over the world waiting to register.

The second part is an exhibition hall, where companies and countries from all over, come to show off the advances they've made, and hopefully make a few business deals. I was able to visit the exhibition hall the morning of the first day, and it was truly impressive. Everyone from Italy and the UK to Ontario, Canada, and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce had stands. As an aside, the Japanese delegation had decorated their booth with pumpkins and other Halloween-themed decorations, obviously not realizing that while Israel might be overrun with Americans, they don't necessarily bring so much of the culture here with them. Anyway, these countries are only displaying their info because Israel is obviously the place to see and be seen when it comes to innovative water technologies.

Also in the exhibition hall were Israeli companies, their booths bursting with videos and informational material showing the advances they had made in areas such as waste treatment management, wetlands restoration, flood protection, erosion protection industrial waste treatment; basically any wet problem you had, there is an Israeli company to help you solve it. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was also on hand, showing off the water projects they help to fund. They are mostly known for their efforts to plant trees, but JNF is involved with helping almost every aspect of Israel's environment. 

If you are around Tel Aviv before the event is over, it's definitely worth your time to at least check out the exhibition hall, which is free and open to the public. It's quite impressive to see all the creative solutions people have come up with to deal with the environmental problems we create for ourselves, and quite pride-inducing to know that most of these solutions came out of Israel.

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