As California struggles to cope with the record drought, state leaders are looking to arid Israel for possible solutions.

A delegation organized by the U.S.-Israel Center on Innovation & Economic Sustainability at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Managemen visited Israel last month to see how that country has overcome water shortages in its dry, desert climate.

“It was extraordinary to experience first-hand Israel’s holistic approach to water resiliency, using multi-tiered strategies built on a basic understanding of water as a valuable commodity,” said Kristen Victor, CEO of Sustainability Matters and San Diego’s representative on the tour. “I also was impressed by the interest in emerging technologies to build on conservation efforts and reduce water costs for the people of Israel.”

The 11-member delegation visited Netafim, a pioneering manufacturer of agricultural drip irrigation products, the Israel Water Authority, the municipal water utility of Jerusalem, and the giant Sorek desalination plant on the Mediterranean Sea. They learned that 75 percent of irrigation in Israel is drip irrigation, while drip comprises only 32 percent of irrigation in California.

The trip was organized in support of a new memorandum of understanding between California and Israel signed by Governor Jerry Brown and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The agreement sets goals for mutual collaboration on water policy and water technology.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.