July 10, 2024
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Best-Selling ‘Let There Be Water’ Author Seth Siegel to Speak at CBY

Who would have imagined that Israel, a predominantly desert terrain, would boast the most efficient water conservation master plan in the Middle East, resulting in a water surplus? Who could imagine that Jordan and the Palestinian-administered territories in the West Bank and Gaza share in this surplus? Who can fathom that Israel exports water technologies worldwide to the tune of $2.2 billion and growing?

In a recent interview with Israel 21c, Seth Siegel, author of the best-selling “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World,” published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press this past September, is on a “mission to raise consciousness about the danger of not having a plan to address the inevitable worldwide water crisis.”

In addition to being a businessman, activist and writer, Siegel served as a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations where he learned of the impending global water crisis. Three years ago he decided to address this crisis in a book which he researched for fourteen months, interviewing over 220 respondents who are actively involved in Israel’s water management technology. He discovered that Israel’s innovations include state-of-the-art policies and products including “drip irrigation, dual-flush toilets, seawater desalination, advanced wastewater treatment and reuse, free-market pricing of water, drought-resistant seeds, cutting-edge metering and leak-detection systems, conservation education and precision agriculture.”

According to Siegel, to date more than 150 countries have welcomed assistance from Israel including the United States, which anticipates long-term water shortages in 40 out of 50 states in the near future. In addition, Israel offers water management and irrigation training to more than 100 developing countries, 29 in Africa alone, as well as to its Palestinian and Jordanian neighbors. Siegel revealed that “despite complicated geopolitics, business relations between Israel and so-called ‘enemy’ countries are quietly robust.”

When asked whom he hopes to target as his reading audience, Siegel includes “environmental activists, public policymakers, elected officials, concerned citizens and heads of NGOs.” He adds, “The chapter on the business of water would be interesting for investors to understand the enormous opportunity.”

Siegel tells Israel 21c, “Israel has gotten savvy about water use on just about every level, and it’s a remarkable story. I had an ongoing feeling of excitement about telling an unknown story and being inspired at the same time. It was a reaffirmation of why Israel is special.”

A recent review of the bestseller, which often reads as a novel, suggests that “what emerges in the book is a clear picture of classic Israeli risk-taking, thinking out of the box, massive investment in research and development, and refusal to accept that anything is impossible.”

Mr. Siegel will be speaking at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun during Thanksgiving weekend, on Motzei Shabbos, November 28, at 8pm. Admission is free and the community is urged to attend.

By Pearl Markovitz

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