This means that before we put a brick in our toilet tanks or let our cars go unwashed, we first need to tackle the way farming works.
If you think of water as a quantifiable natural resource like oil, rather than a ubiquitous part of nature like air or rocks, you quickly find that the amount of water humans are wasting is staggering—and that Israel has found ways to cut it dramatically.
Think of ancient farmers schlepping buckets from a river to nearby fields.
While many of these methods are already being put into place especially in Europe and the U.
S., no country has made the transition like Israel.
His lifelong interest in Israel—he spent a year there as a grad student after finishing Cornell and, more recently, became deeply involved with AIPAC—had taught him that Israelis were worried about water.
Soon he discovered something that few Israelis were even aware of: Through decades of research, testing, and determination, Israelis had already cracked the nut. He now wanted to tell the world about how Israel had solved one of humanity’s biggest looming problems. I spent some time with him in New York, where he introduced me to a few of the Israelis bringing about the water revolution.
But measured by their long-term impact on the world, Israel’s most important innovators just might be in the agricultural sector—wiry, sun-baked engineer types who specialize in geology and the chemistry of water and the biology of crops.
Over half a century, they have turned the country into a global leader in the water sphere, with water-tech exports reaching .2 billion in 2013.
Though this water crisis overlaps with the more widely-discussed problem of climate change, it is different in many ways. And its catastrophic effects are playing out more clearly and more quickly.
It is more acute and more concrete, in that it focuses on a single resource without which humanity cannot live. It is also a problem that can be decisively solved without anything remotely resembling the economic restructuring and political acrobatics required to address climate change.
For this reason, Israelis will be at the heart of any effort to solve the global water crisis. Looking deeper into the report, these predictions turn out to be understatements.