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Israel: The World's Water Superpower

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The planet is on the brink of a global water crisis and California's drought is only the beginning.  The U.S. government predicts that 40 of our 50 states -- and 60 percent of the earth's land surface -- will soon face alarming gaps between the supply and growing demand for water. 

Without immediate action, food prices will rise, economic growth will slow, and political instability is likely to follow.

In remarkable defiance of this water emergency stands Israel. Despite its unforgiving terrain, rapid population growth, and low annual rainfall, Israel is not only fending off a water crisis; it boasts a water surplus.  It even exports water to the Palestinians in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza and to the Kingdom of Jordan.

Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water-Starved World by Seth M. Siegel is the first and only book on Israel's growing global influence as a water superpower, detailing how the nation's approach to water can help the rest of the world avoid disastrous water shortages. 

*Seth M. Siegel is a businessman, activist, writer, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Cornell Law School graduate spoke with CBN News' Lorie Johnson about why Israel a model for how the rest of the world could better approach managing its water supply. Click play to watch.

In an engaging narrative, Siegel recounts the story of a small desert country, which long before its independence, developed unprecedented water sophistication. Today, its water influence has spread far and wide, from the contract it signed with the World Bank to share its water expertise with developing countries, to the Israeli firm IDE's involvement in the Carlsbad Desalination Project in the parched region of San Diego.

Israel's water mastery is decades in the making. Siegel dissects the nation's innovations in science and engineering, in areas such as drip irrigation, desalination and wastewater treatment. 

In addition, Siegel explores Israel's highly effective public policy approach to water, which includes real water pricing, public ownership of water, government control of consumption patterns, and a centralized and de-politicized water authority. Siegel reveals how the rest of the world can adopt these measures now and stay ahead of the looming global water crisis.

Israel's multi-faceted "all of the above" approach to water supply led the nation to achieve the world's most sophisticated water system -- a system with valuable lessons for every country -- and a multi-billion dollar water technology export industry. 

As Israel continues to export its water technology and expertise around the world, Siegel explains how the unlikely resources of water and water know-how became Israel's primary tools for global engagement, from running the majority of Iran's water projects in the lead-up to the Islamic Revolution, to using water development as a means to reverse China's long-standing diplomatic freeze against Israel, to Israel's current water projects throughout the developing world. 

This use of "hydro-diplomacy," a term Siegel coins in the book, has offered Israel a crucial vehicle for opening diplomatic relations with countries around the globe.

The Israeli water solutions described in this book provide what renowned environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. calls "a blueprint for the planet" and what Michael Bloomberg hails as "essential reading." 

If we learn to follow Israel's example of advance planning, effective governance, investment in innovation, and citizen involvement, the rest of our world can revert its course and achieve water security for all. Built on hundreds of interviews and rigorous research, Let There Be Water tells the inspiring story of Israel's journey to water security and how the rest of the world can follow suit before it's too late.

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About The Author


CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming 24 hours a day by cable, satellite and the Internet. Staffed by a group of acclaimed news professionals, CBN News delivers stories to over a million viewers each day without a specific agenda. With its headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., CBN News has bureaus in Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and elsewhere around the world. What began as a segment on CBN's flagship program, The 700 Club, in the early 1980s, CBN News has since expanded into a multimedia news organization that offers today's news headlines