Israel’s Greenwashing Jamboree to Showcase its Water Prowess

Israel’s Greenwashing Jamboree

The self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Innovative Water Conference’ will take place at the Intercontinental David Hotel in Tel Aviv between November 18 – 21. This will be the 9th staging of Israel’s biennial WATEC (‘Water, Technology and Environmental Control’) which in 2017 attracted some 10,000 participants from 60 countries.

The WATEC trade fair gives Israel the opportunity to present itself as the pre-eminent water expert and to conclude lucrative international deals. This November – as the WATEC website proclaims – the “start up nation” will “address the latest water innovations” and “look forward at the future of water around the world and how the impending crisis can be managed.”

WATEC has drummed up support in the US with ‘pre-events’ held in Denver, Miami and elsewhere. Among the featured speakers are those from the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, the Israel-Colorado Innovation Fund, the Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment Department and the LA Department of Water and Power, Kansas-based Black & Veatch, and the founder of the California ‘Thirst Project.’

As well as hearing talks, viewing exhibitions and making deals, participants will be taken to view waste water facilities and desalination plants. Among the places they may visit is the Jordan Valley, which is being pumped dry by WATEC’s chief organizer, the Israeli National Water Carrier Mekorot, whose chief of staff Yossi Yaacoby is the chairman of the trade fair.

In an article promoting the event The Jerusalem Post referenced data from NASA’s GRACE mission indicating that the Middle East had lost the equivalent of the volume of the Dead Sea between 2006 and 2013, with 60 % of the loss caused by groundwater pumping.

But Mekorot’s role in siphoning off the West Bank’s water supply was not mentioned in the piece. Instead it lauded Israel’s “water stewardship and innovation” and the opportunity “to leverage Israel’s technological solutions to advance the management of protection of water across the world.”

It is safe to assume that what happens in its own back yard will not be on the WATEC agenda.

Nancy Murray

Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine