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February 10, 2017

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 ',r water mlSsl0n By Allison Levlne The first-ever Jewish Na- tional Fund (JNF) Israelwater mission, titled IsraelH20: A Tour on the Trail of Israel's Water Solutions, attracted participants for many differ- ent reasons, but ultimately, all came with the same goal--to learn more about how Israel, a once water starved country, has become a place where wa- ter issues have become stable and its water crisis mitigated. The mission was a natural continuation and a fitting conclusion to JNF's yearlong successful Water Summits held in dozens of cities around the United States. "The goal of this mission is to show how Israel is a true model to the world of how it is possible to overcome severe water shortages through proper management and constant innovation," explained Talia Tzour Avner, Chief KKL Israel Emissary based in New York. The 40 participants con- sisted of Jews and non-Jews alike, civil engineers, academ- ics, long time JNF supporters, as well as four representatives sent by the Thai government, and an official from the United Nations. "I am learning so much about the work that JNF does for water issues in Israel, and I've been able to see the levels of cooperation that exist between corporate entities, farmers, and legis- lators working together for a common goal," said Anne Juepner, the UN Director of Global Policy Center who is based in Nairobi, Kenya."Iwas most impressed and surprised by how fully aware Israelis are of water issues, not only within Israel, but also around the world." Starting the mission in Northern Israel, which includ- ed a visit to waste treatment plants and water reclamation facilities, the group traveled south to JNF's Basor Res- ervoirs. On the morning of the mission's visit, countless birds were seen nesting in the nearby bushes and flying over the fields in flocks. The JNF group gathered at an overlook point that provided views of the reservoirs as well as fruit trees, farmlands, and the winding Basor River. The reservoirs created by JNF---over 250 throughout Israel--hold either treated water or rain water collected from annual regional flood- ing, depending on each res- ervoir. "The water is mainly used for irrigation purposes in these dry parts of the county--because of the res- ervoirs, Israeli farmers are able to irrigate 10,800 acres (44,000 dunams) of additional land," Ofer Brokshtain, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) engineering and development officer, told the group. "Before these reservoirs were built, there was nothing here--this region is a desert! All the vegetation and all of the fields and orchards thatwe see today are thanks to the network of JNF-KKL reservoirs." The JNF Israel H20 Mission was chaired by Bob Lembke, President of the United Water and Sanitation District, from Greenwood Village, Colorado. Lembke, who brought a num- The Tour on the Trail of Israel's Water Solutions trip to Israel attracted over 40 participants, Jews and non-Jews alike, with various backgrounds including civil engineers, academics, long time JNF supporters, as well as four representatives sent by the Thai government, and an official from the United Nations. ber of colleagues with him on this mission, mentioned Seth M. Siegel's best-selling book, Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water Starved World, and hearing Siegel speak a JNF Water Summit."JNF is key onwater," said Lembke. "Israel's water system is well designed and efficient, while at the same time, Israel is constantly working on new innovations. On this trip, we are seeing how the water distribution system is well managed, and how the water crisis has been ad- dressed through desalination, water conservation, andwater recycling." Overall, per-capita, Is- raelis use about 27 percent less water than Americans. While a good portion of JNF's IsraelH20 Mission focused on visiting corporations, facili- ties, or government officials, they also visited an elemen- tary school in Ofakim, a small development town near Be'er Sheva in the Negev, where they witnessed first-hand JNF's rain harvesting water system and learned about the water education program JNF runs in collaboration with partner organization Green Horizon. Standing in a noisy courtyard with curi- ous schoolchildren coming to see the visitors, mission participants met with JNF Green Horizons Liaison Ido Eisikovitz to learn more about how water-saving techniques are taught in Israel from child- hood. "If we want to educate people for the future, we have to start at the beginning, which is what JNF is doing in this and about 50 other el- ementary schools," explained Eisikovitz. "It is important for us to learn from what Israel has done and continues to do in dealing with water scarcity," said Chompoonoch Dolsuk- lert, one of three delegates sent by the Thai government on this important mission. "We often have droughts in Thailand, andwe need to work to be innovative in addressing the situation." The focus on Israel's suc- cesses inwater recycling came up repeatedly throughout the mission. "Israel is number one in the world for using recycling water for irrigation purposes, with about 85 per- cent of waste water being re- used. The next country after Israel is Spain, who recycles about 20% of their water," said Juepner. "We are seeing how the global water crisis continues to affect countries around the world, and the key is approaching the issue from different directions, not just relying on one solution. A lot of what JNFhas been able to do in Israel has worked towards water sustainability, and I'm hoping to see more JNF mis- sions like this in the future, with representatives from different countries touring, learning, and joining in the conversation." "I really think that this can be a cornerstone of peace in the region--being able to generate useable water in general abundance," added Lembke. "Chairing this mis- sion, I'm pleased that so many others get to see how JNF, the government of Israel, and other stakeholders have worked together to develop technology to desalinate or treat water at a high level, and alsoways to supply and store it. All of these elements are vital for anyone looking to work addressing the critical issues of water shortage, which affect us all regardless of borders or nationality." Please join its for an evening of celebration honorhag Amy Geboff tbr txven -one },ears of se dce to Ohev Shalom as Director of Youth and Family Education Sunday, FebmaD, 26, 2017 Congregation Ohev Shalom 613 Concourse Parkway South Maitland, FL 32751 5:00 PM Cocktail Reception & Silent Auction 6:30 PM Dilmer & Program Log into our On-lhm Auctioi1 at: x x , Oiflhle Auction begins February 12, 2017 and remains active until 11:45 PM Thursday, Febma " 23, 2017 Highest bid on each item becomes the opening bid on tim night of the gala Camp Attire RSVP by February 16, 2017