Israel can take lead in creating water secure world: Union Minister Shekhawat

Israel is an “inspiration” for others when the entire world is in grave danger due to continuous depletion of water resources, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has said, stressing that the willing exchange of skills and wisdom among countries will surely result in a water secure world.

Terming Israel a water superpower, the water resources minister said the country is passionate to manage its water assets can take the lead in the pursuit of making the world water secure.

“Israel is an amazing country which despite being semi-arid water scarce land has managed to be water sufficient. I commend Israel”s hardiness that has helped the nation survive harsh climatic conditions and become a water superpower. It is passionate to manage its water assets”, said Shekhawat at the prestigious biennial Water Technology and Environmental Control (WATEC) conference here.

“Today when the entire world is in grave due to continuous depletion of water resources, Israel is an inspiration for other nations. When inspiration combines with passion, possibility emerges. I firmly believe that willing exchange of water skills and wisdom among nations will surely result in a water secure world,” he said, adding that Israel can take the lead in this pursuit.

Enlisting several initiatives launched by the Indian government to ensure water security, Shekhawat said it was at the centre of India”s development agenda.

The minister spoke about the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap water facility to every household by 2024, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna to improve water use efficiency, the Namami Ganga project driven by the belief that rivers are sacred to Indians and even the interlinking of rivers initiative to balance out water availability throughout the country.

Pointing out Israel”s experiment of inter basin transfer of water from Sea of Galilee to the Israeli coastal plains for several years, the minister said that Israel could play a role in the success of all these projects.

“Science does not believe in miracles, but scientific innovation itself is a miracle”, he said.

Expressing India”s commitment to the Paris Agreement, he asserted that India was aware of its responsibility towards creating a sustainable future for the planet.

The Indian government is committed to minimise harmful environmental practices and eventually eliminate them, he said.

Shekhawat is on a three-day visit to Israel, his first foreign trip as the minister, during which he has sought the country”s help in better management of India”s water resources.

He has held extensive discussions with Israel”s Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, some identified Israeli companies active in the field of water management and other relevant stake-holders as part of ”India-Israel Strategic Partnership on Water”.

The minister is being accompanied by a large delegation from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Delhi.

A large number of Indian businessmen have also joined Shekhawat at these events, and would be exploring opportunities of collaboration with potential Israeli partners.

Israel has made water recycling an integral part of the daily life.

Steinitz highlighted how eighty per cent of his country”s water needs were fulfilled by desalination and it will become hundred per cent in the coming decade.

The Israeli minister also emphasised on how almost 90 per cent of sewage water gets treated, purified and recycled to help turn Israel green.

Exports of water-saving Israeli technologies exceeds USD 1.5 billion a year, as per industry sources.

Shekhawat will also be visiting a water treatment plant in north Israel and pay his respects to Indian soldiers buried at the Haifa war cemetery.

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