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The water news: Can Israel help solve the global water crisis?

The global water crisis is getting worse, and over 2 billion people are expected to suffer from a lack of water by 2050. Meanwhile, Israel is accumulating enormous knowledge and expertise on the subject of water management, alongside a thriving ecosystem of companies contributing to innovation in the field. So will the gospel of water come to the world from Israel?

By Gideon Bacher, Ravid Levy and Yoram Mord, Zveta - Science and Environment News Agency

One of the rainwater collection systems built by the team in April 2022. Photo: Engineers Without Borders team - Israel Tel Aviv
One of the rainwater collection systems built by the team in Africa in April 2022. Photo: Engineers Without Borders team - Israel Tel Aviv

The recognition of Israeli expertise and knowledge on the subject of water is an issue with which there is a broad global consensus. This recognition is also the basis on which Israel can be positioned as a global water center from which the message of water will go out to the whole world. This is a real growth engine for the Israeli economy, a means of improving Israel's international standing, and branding it as a country that contributes in a practical and proven way to solving one of the world's developing global problems.

Israel has another unique strength - in the digital field - a merger between the "high-tech nation" and the field of water and infrastructure. This constitutes a significant potential for the development and future relative advantage of Israel in the international market.

In light of the global water crisis on the one hand, and the growing demand for water on the other hand, the global water market is a very promising market from an economic point of view. According to Global Water Intelligence, a body specializing in water forecasts, capital invested in water and water infrastructure will increase from $3.8 trillion in 2024 to $12.6 trillion in 2034. It predicts that the share of the government sector in capital investment in the water sector will decrease from 78% today to 43% in 2034. Hence, the possibilities for private investors in the field will increase considerably.

In order to achieve optimal utilization of Israeli capabilities in the international arena, a central, independent Israeli body is required to integrate, concentrate, open up and make available the vast Israeli knowledge, which is currently scattered in several sectors, to international bodies, in a variety of fields such as the academic, applied, commercial and other fields. This body will operate in all aspects related to water such as digitization, hydrology, technologies, policy, agriculture, water reclamation, desalination and more.

With an investment that is not large, but while adopting a national strategy and internal synergy between the government, the private sector, academia and the water innovation community, the State of Israel can be the global center for water innovation, and a magnet for companies and countries around the world. Are we ready for the challenge?

Ambassador Gideon Bacher, special envoy for climate change and sustainability of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ravid Levy, Director of the Israeli Water Community; Yoram Mored, Special Envoy for Water, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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