Senior California state officials attended a conference hosted by the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies this week to learn Israeli-developed strategies that may help deal with California’s ongoing drought.
“Israel had a problem similar to the one California is dealing with 10 years ago,” Dr. Glenn Yago, a senior fellow with the Milken Institute’s Financial Innovation Lab, told Yedioth Ahronoth.
“The problem is still ongoing, but Israel now produces about 20 percent more water than the market requires. The use of water per capita in Israel is less than one-third of the amount consumed in California. This is a result of the establishment of desalination installations, the secondary use of water for agriculture, and also the citizens’ conduct,” said Yago.
The conference participants, he added, “were very excited about what we showed them, like our success in preserving and restoring the aquifers. They didn’t know it was even possible to drip irrigation pipes in some of the agricultural industries.”
Simultaneously, Israeli companies working on water management and purification—including Atlantium, Amiad, and TripleT—have been meeting with companies such as Leprino Foods, Costco, Coca-Cola, and other corporations situated in the western U.S., as well as with officials in California’s Department of Water, Department of Agriculture, and Governor’s Office.
“I think that Israel has been a pioneer in this field for a long time now,” said Prof. Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at the University of California, Irvine. “The work with the irrigation was simply phenomenal. It’s a real game-changer. In California we are working with a drip irrigation technology, but we still have a long way to go. The technology and water management in Israel is at a very high level. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to share the most critical problems and cooperate with the Israelis for possible solutions.”