Israel is ready to help Kenya to meet its water needs

Israel Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Lotem. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The close connection between the water crisis and the climate crisis was noted in the COP 27 summary statement and will be a central theme during the United Nations Water Conference to mark the World Water Day today at the UN headquarters in New York.

Against this background, water management - supported by relevant technology - becomes crucial.

While many places in the world still have full access to clean tap water, in many others, access to the same is limited and almost non-existent.

Israel has one of the most advanced water management systems in the world. With an abundance of research and development and innovative technologies, Israel can make a significant contribution in Kenya.

Israel's water infrastructure was developed in dire reality - a recently established state, military attacks from Syria on our water resources, a huge wave of new migrants, critical economic constraints and more. And not to mention the fact that half of Israel is a desert.

As a country, we made many mistakes and had our successes. We want to share our experience with Kenya in order to avoid our mistakes and to enhance Kenya's success.

The sub areas for cooperation are many. One example is the treatment and recycling of sewage. Israel holds a world record in this field. Ninety per cent of its wastewater is treated and almost 90 per cent of these is used in agriculture. In Israel, we use the by-products of treated sewerage for the production of organic fertilisers.

Seawater desalination

Another field in which Israel holds a world record is the prevention of water loss in urban systems. While in Israel only a small percentage of water is lost in urban supply systems, in other countries, this rate is many times over.

The paradox is that these are often arid and water-scarce countries.

In Israel, a comprehensive variety of technologies and methods have been developed to prevent water loss in supply systems, detect leaks through remote sensors, and more.

Seawater desalination, the use of brackish water in agriculture, drip irrigation, the development of agricultural varieties that consume less water, and even the extraction of water from air, are all fields that are developed in Israel.

Today in Israel, 65 per cent of our potable water is desalinated seawater. Soon, with the inauguration of a newly built (200 million c/m per year) seawater desalination facility, this rate will reach 80 per cent.

The president of Kenya places water management and the availability of water to each Kenyan citizen, at the very top of his agenda. So do the governors in many counties. We have an ongoing engagement with the central government as well as local governments and we will continue enhancing it.

-Mr Lotem Israeli Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Seychelles