"Water" - lifeline next to "Air"

By Sarath Wijesinghe

"We can live many days without food but without water it is about three days" Water is essential to life, but we cannot seem to get the right water to the right people at the right time. Over $9billian per year is wasted as a result of failing or inadequate water and sanitation structure despite of the abundance of water on the globe. More people have access to cell phones than safe water.

Water Diplomacy

Water diplomacy is defined broadly include all measures that can be undertaken to prevent or peacefully resolve conflicts related to water availability allocation or use between states. Peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994 is timely and successful water agreement benefit in all parties including non-state factors.


Ocean makes up 71% of the earth’s surface while the other 29% made up of earth’s continents and islands which include fresh water lakes and glaciers that cover the earth’s surface. This indicates the abundance of water and the constitution of the earth as well as human beings which includes animals, plants with water. Of all the water on earth 97.5% is contained in oceans while the remaining 2.5% is fresh water lakes and frozen water locked up in glaciers and polar ice caps almost 69% of the fresh water on earth is ice. Water is essential for life. Safety and accountability drinking water are major concerns. The amount of fresh water is limited. Bur availability of sea water is unlimited.
With all this availability of water on the "Globe" some human beings have to travel long miles for a bucket of water because there is no equitable distribution of water in the world as much as food, shelter and clothing. Scarcity of water is common to many under developed and developing countries and developed countries as well.

Water issue in Sri Lanka

Water in Sri Lanka has become a major issue due to over use, poisoning, misuse and not having proper management of this precious natural treasure for which we were fortunate to be in possession in abundance. It is a worrying factor that the increase of kidney diseases and connected complications are now increasing rapidlyin many areas in Sri Lanka. North Central Province of Sri Lanka which consists of Anurdhapura and Pollannaruwa districts contribute 22% cases of Kidney diseases and 17 %deaths annually. In 2002 Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital had 140 deaths due to chronic Kidney diseases. The number is rising every year. It is time we draw up short and long term plans to control the situation for which the assistance and contribution of professionals are required.
There is a school of thoughts that water pollution is due to many factors including the over use of strong fertilizers in tea estates, potato growing areas, paddy and other agricultural products resulting distribution of poisonous materials throughout the country through rivers originating from the hill country. However the fact remains that the water level in some countries –including Sri Lanka-have polluted ground water due to mass industrialization and not properly managing and circulating water properly. Israel has found solutions for their water issues despite the fact that they have insufficient water. They planned for decades and spent billions for water industry to achieve the current success and for future and health of the Nation which is exemplary and a model for others to follow, including Sri Lanka. Though a smaller Nation than that of Sri Lanka, major powers are not shy to tap their technology. Water management in Sri Lanka too is to be modified and improved in line with world developments. The wastage of water in Sri Lanka is enormous at all stages of the process.

Priority for Water

The amount of water in the human body requires about 50 – 75%. The average adult’s human body is 50- 60% water averaging around 55 to 60%. This shows how important water is to the world and the living being. In the current developed and developing world priority is given to water management, preservation and distribution. Governments have given priority for water and steps are taken to share knowledge and experiences in water safety, managements, preservation and distribution. Some countries such as Nepal and Iceland have water in abundance where the management required is minimal. Are human beings receive their water share which is a basic human right is unanswered.

Water in different environments

Obviously in the desert water is scarce. Living beings and the environment have adoptedthemselves to carry on the life in such circumstances whist destroying the nature with manmade disasters.
Nepal which is next to the Everest is full of water use water resource to generate power. Rivers originate from the hill and runs through neighboring Nations in the sub-continent. The Middle East where deserts are in abundance has won the water war successfully using their oil resources to make countries green and give the share of water to the community. Fortunately new found oil and gas assists them to import water for industrial as well as consumption for human, animals and plants. They take great efforts to be green using modern techniques, such as drip irrigation and similar methods. Israel is in the midst of the Middle East with limited water resources and rain. Today water is not an issue in Israel with self-sufficiency in water. They have used their technology and high tech to generate water from sea which is in abundance.
Sri Lanka is a fortunate Nation with plenty of water, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and rain and average rain in all seasons. Whether there is a just and equitable availability and distribution in this beautiful island nation is a moot issue. However the fact remains that mechanisms and establishments are set up for water management, preservation and distribution which requires specialized attention. It is unfortunate that in Sri Lanka due to deforestation and destruction by humans there is a danger to disturb the water flow and the water flow in general in Sri Lanka. It is time that we take immediate short and long term precautionary measures to maintain the stable system to check and maintain the environment to avoid suicide of the Nation by manmade destructions.

Water issue in Israel

Israel is full of desert and comparatively fertile in terms of deserts right round. South of Israel is dominated by "Negev" desert covering more than half of the country’s land area. The north of the Negev contains "Judean" deserts, the Dead Sea which is the lowest portion of the earth. Mount Everest is 8850meters above sea level which is the highest altitude in the world whereas the lowest is in Israel around the Dead Sea. It is heartening to note that Israel is no longer a desert in that sense. It grows vegetables, fruits and the Nation is full of green using modern technology and the water generated by high tech and modern means. They have made the country fertile with innovations and Hi Tec.
The Water management in Israel is excellent. Sanitation and connected matters in are highly developed and exemplary. As rainfall is only in the winter their irrigation and water engineering which are vital to the country’s economic survival and growth maintain highest standards. Long scale projects to direct water from rivers, reservoirs and taking optimum use of ground water including reclaimed water and desalination, I With little over 60 years economic struggle Israel has become one of the most powerful countries in the world, with self-sufficiency in water, energy.Food and vegetables are exported and most developed techniques are practices along the traditional methods.
Israel is a world leader in high tech, agriculture, water and modern innovations. 80% of the water requirements in Israel are generated from desalination of sea water in addition to other forms such as lakes, ground and saved water in reservoirs. Rain water and the other natural water are preserved carefully in compartments and they are ambitious that in a few years entire country will be fed by desalinated water from the sea. The other area to be proud of is the recycling of wastewater using modern techniques. Even the sewage is treated and used as one of the best fertilisers for agriculture.

Water Exhibition in Israel

The WATEC Exhibition is a congregation of professionals, experts in government and the private sector to explore avenues for high efficiency of water usage, water protection and management, computerized management for water resource and water resource allocation technology, sewage water treatment, water saving irrigation techniques and re-use, and meeting leading water technology companies and most importantly water saving.
The participants will have the opportunity to enrich their experiences, knowledge and better measure the impacts and benefits of water technologies and management. It is very encouraging to note that a delegation of important personalities from Sri Lanka is attending this most important event with the leadership and guidance of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel and Israel Embassy in India. We earnestly expect a high powered government sector official delegation next year.
Israel is a water leader in high tech with little water and land which is generally not fertile. In January 2011 there were 22, 0000 visitors and 104 countries participated. This year the program starts on 22nd October and the main topics are the main subjects given at the website in detail. This is obviously a unique occasion for the participants of the countries in high tech and also in need of exchange of knowledge. Water is no longer an issue to Israel. They made the desert fertile, land full of greenery and vegetation and crops for exports. Every drop of water is preserved underground. The State of Israel is prepared to exchange and share knowledge with the government and private sector. It is with this spirit that they have extended this invitation to developing countries and major powers such as USA, India and China.
Their water techniques have reached the highest and could be considered as the best in the world as they have achieved this goal out of sheer necessity and determination. Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel organized a trade Mission recently which attracted 24 companies and entrepreneurs in the field of dairy, high tech, water, agriculture and many other areas and look forward to inviting participants for the Commonwealth Business Forum in November with the participation of 54 heads of starts and a large number of business community worldwide. The deliberations of WATEC in October will be a turning point for our water techniques especially in the areas where water is scarce and also where the water is polluted.New techniques, short term and long term have to be adopted. For example there are projects for drinking water which is not very expensive. There is a project where a SME company has developed small drinking machines to be installed in other towns. This is only an example. Even desalination can take place in different levels. Recycling is the other main area where Sri Lanka can have close cooperation with Israel. Inventors are encouraged to innovate and the individual who invented the mini water techniques for drinking water is an individual who has made it by himself and donated to the business arena for distribution. This is a unique project for Sri Lanka where drinking water is urgently in need until major projects are introduced.

Collaboration with Exchange of Knowledge and experience

We wish that this program be a success and the participants will carry their knowledge and experience back to the respective countries for a better life for their people. This year India is leading a large delegation for the WATEC. Chief Minister of the State of Rajastanrecently made a personal visit to Israel with a delegation of experts, as the conditions in their difficult State is somewhat similar to Israel. World leaders and powers have programs to exchange Hi Tec and knowhow with this hardworking and innovative nation for mutual benefit of all. This gives food for thoughts for other friendly countries where water is scarce. The Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel is prepared to assist those who need assistance in areas of high tech, water, agriculture, dairy and any other areas of cooperation. It is essential that both State and the private sector should get the best use of this rare opportunity of exchanging the knowledge and learning process. We invite those who are interested to browse the WATEC website and to communicate with the Sri Lankan Embassy for any assistance on [email protected] and [email protected] for any other information. - " As water becomes desperately in short supply the solution is to collaborate," with each other by learning/exchanging knowledge and experiences. This is the rare and ideal opportunity to the state and private equally and as the Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel we pave the way for all the stallholders and interested parties for collaboration, exchange of knowledge and experiences using this opportunity as a vehicle.
*Sri Lankan Ambassador to Israel
Sri Lankan Embassy
[email protected]

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