Israeli water wonks share their strategies

Desalination plant, Aruba

From The Montrose Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

[Don] Coram was among legislators and policy leaders selected by JEWISHcolorado for its recent Jewish Community Relations Council Public Officials Mission. The mission took a bipartisan group, including Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, to Israel last week.

Coram and the others got up-close looks at how the Israelis desalinize seawater and recycle water for agriculture in their arid landscape. Although the nation is many thousand miles removed from landlocked Western Colorado, what’s being done there may have potential here, Coram said.

“It’s pretty amazing what they do. I’m trying to figure out how we could make this work in Colorado,” the Montrose Republican said by phone from Jerusalem on Nov. 30.

In his estimation, Israel leads the world in water technology such as the drip irrigation Western Slope farmers have begun employing. Israel also leads in water savings — and in ways to re-use water.

“I think a lot of things I can certainly bring back home to benefit Colorado,” Coram said, making note of the Colorado Water Plan. The plan, prompted by a 2013 executive order and now two years old, set the framework for future water conservation decisions, as well as ambitious implementation goals at the state and local levels.

Sixty percent of water used in Israel comes from desalinization and it is piped into Arab states, too, Coram said. The nation’s fresh water comes from the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a large lake.

The public officials mission took participants on a “full gamut” tour of Israel’s renewable resource efforts…

Last Thursday, the mission took its guests about 50 miles along the Egyptian border toward the largest solar project in the world, per Coram.

The public officials mission is designed to educate and connect Colorado policymakers and business leaders with people in Israel to share cutting-edge initiatives in technology, agriculture, water rights, conservation and cyber intelligence, according to information from the Denver-based JEWISHcolorado.

“JEWISHcolorado’s mission is to strengthen and steward Jewish life in Colorado, Israel and around the world,” Andra Davidson, the organization’s vice president of marketing and events, said.

“There is no substitute for first-hand experience, and we have created a dynamic trip that gives those attending a first-hand look at the many rich facets of Israel’s culture, business world, innovations and history. We know that the relationships that develop between Colorado and Israel will be beneficial for many years to come.”

The organization’s Jewish Community Relations Council focuses on making its public officials missions bipartisan, and invites people its representatives think are up-and-coming leaders.

The council is a coalition of 38 Jewish organizations and 15 at-large members in the state, who speak as a single voice on issues of concern to the Jewish community.

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