A Johannesburg conference on South Africa’s water conference has been canceled due to protests over the inclusion of the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk. The cancelation was touted by pro-BDS activists as a victory, but the real losers are South Africans. While activists who supported the decision claimed that Israel’s water technology is “not unique or special” and that “such technology is widely available through other more friendly countries,” This is simply not the case. Israel leads the world in water saving technology. Water-tech companies have won many awards for their innovative water-saving technologies. Israel has 31 desalination plants throughout the country. More than a third of Israel’s tap water comes from the mediterranean sea. They lead the world in recycling waste water. Israel reuses nearly 90% of its waste water for agricultural irrigation. Compare that to the U.S, which reuses about 1% and you start to understand how much Israel can teach the world about water conservation. Israel’s sewage treatment uses state of the art, Israeli-developed bacterial sewage scrubbers to ensure the water is clean and prevent disease. Israeli scientists have created early-warning mathematical algorithms to detect dribbles, leaks and bursts. With this technology, Israel can plug leaks much sooner than traditional methods, so that water is not wasted. Israel invented and continues to perfect and develop drip irrigation and micro-irrigation technologies and methods for getting maximum yield with very little water. Israelis have figured out ways to make crops grow even larger and healthier, while reducing the amount of water used dramatically. Water grid systems have been perfected by Israeli companies to provide efficient, low cost methods for transferring water to where it is needed. Israelis have even figured out a way to make water out of thin air!
According to the U.N., “Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).” Vietnamese delegates to the Watec water technology conference in Tel Aviv in 2011 said of the Jewish State, “What you are doing with water technology is amazing, if we could have a tenth of the technology you have here we would be fine.” China, Honduras, India, the United States and many others have all benefited from Israeli water technology. BDS activists may think that Israeli water tech is not unique, but it is. They may think that any other country can provide the same water conservation technologies as Israel, but they can’t. They may think that this is a win, but to South African farmers affected by the water crisis, it’s a massive loss.