KKL-JNF at CleanTech 2012: Israel's Fourth Aquifier

Sunday, July 08, 2012 3:59 PM

KKL-JNF showcases its vital water projects at the 2012 CleanTech Exhibition.

“There is a lot of water in the oceans that we could desalinate. The cost of a cubic meter of desalinated water is a few shekels. Many Israelis drink mineral water, for which they pay a thousand shekels per cubic meter. People are willing to pay the price, and it is therefore not an issue about water but about money.” This is what Moshe Cohen, the KKL-JNF Director of Development Works, said in his greetings at the international conference entitled Water Thirsty World, which took place at the 2012 CleanTech Exhibition at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center, where KKL-JNF had a booth showcasing its water projects.

Curious visitors at KKL-JNF booth. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archives

Many experts, from Israel and from all over the world, participated in the conference, which was about developing new technological solutions for increasing the quantity of water for human consumption the world over. Shimon Tal, Israel’s former Water Commissioner, who serves today as the President of the Israel Water Association, opened and facilitated the conference. Before the presentations, which drew hundreds of professionals, Tal invited Moshe Cohen to address the audience on behalf of KKL-JNF, one of the major partners in developing Israel’s water economy in recent decades.
Cohen presented the conference participants with a new-old challenge, finding ways to reduce the natural evaporation of water in natural and manmade reservoirs, in order to increase the quantity of water available for agriculture and domestic use. “Finding solutions for present evaporation, which is sixty to seventy percent, would significantly increase quantities of available water. KKL-JNF has been dealing for many years with water issues, with the understanding that water is a source of life. KKL-JNF invests in infrastructure for harvesting water, and has constructed over 230 reservoirs all over Israel, most of which store treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation. The scope of water stored in Israel’s reservoirs at present is 300 million cubic meters per annum, and it is not in vain that KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler has called the reservoirs Israel’s fourth aquifer."

Moshe Cohen with rare Blue Box. Photo: Gabi Bron

Shimon Tal. Photo: Gabi Bron

Cohen also spoke about the significant contribution to the environment as a result of other KKL-JNF activities, including the regional agricultural R&D stations that KKL-JNF, together with its friends worldwide, finances with tens of millions of shekels annually.
In his closing words, Cohen read the parting letter he had sent to KKL-JNF personnel in anticipation of his retirement, addressing all “the rain men, the water people, the earth people, the drainage authorities, the water associations, the river administrations, the Water Authority workers, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. These days, I am completing thirty years of work at KKL-JNF, and another ten at the Technion, at Re'em and at Palgei Mayim, altogether forty years of water, soil and landscape work, which seemed to me like a few days. I thank you for the opportunity to sum up my work with KKL-JNF for the development, rehabilitation and preservation of the land, water and landscapes of Israel. I hope the sacred work of developing and preserving the source of water and life, rehabilitating rivers, preserving land and drainage, and preserving open spaces and green expanses, will continue for the benefit of future generations. Sustainability is sustainable thanks to you.

Avri Kadmon and Eli Arie inspecting new soil stabilizing material. Photo: Gabi Bron

There was enthusiastic applause for Cohen's words from the conference participants, most of whom are well aware of KKL-JNF's projects in the field of water in Israel. Some of the participants, who were presenting at the water technology exhibition, inquired, in the course of the two-day exhibition, about establishing business contacts with KKL-JNF, in order to find new ways of collaborating with KKL-JNF in their respective fields of water expertise.
Representatives of companies that specialize in treating wastewater, producers of advanced infrastructure material, and even representatives from a company specializing in restoring historical structures, visited the KKL-JNF booth at the exhibition and scheduled meetings with senior KKL-JNF professionals, including the Infrastructure Department Engineer, Eli Arie, and the Information Department Director of the Land Development Administration, Avri Kadmon.

Iris Nevo hands out wildflower seeds to KKL-JNF booth visitors. Photo: Gabi Bron

KKL-JNF representatives Iris Nevo and Revital Ovadia spent many hours manning the KKL-JNF booth, answering the questions of the numerous visitors. Guests who joined the activities that KKL-JNF organizes all over Israel were presented by Revital and Iris with a wonderful gift – a packet of seeds of assorted wildflowers for planting in a garden or a flowerpot.
“Although this exhibition is meant for professionals in the water industry,” said Iris, “there are, nevertheless, many visitors from other walks of life, who are interested in the work done by KKL-JNF at its sites. It was interesting to see so many bicycle riders among the participants in this exhibition, who came to our booth to get information and maps for the cycling trails that were developed by KKL-JNF all over Israel with the assistance of contributions from its friends all over the world. Many of the exhibition visitors, from Israel and from other countries, have also expressed great interest in the work KKL-JNF is doing for Israel’s water economy.”
Revital Ovadia also showcased KKL-JNF’s unique tourism project, "Forester for a Day," in which people assist in the preservation of Israel’s forests and landscapes and help make them even more beautiful and more green.