Water Resource Management in Arid Lands - Focus on Non-conventional Water for Agriculture, Conservation and Domestic Use in Dry-lands
December 1st through December 16th, 2014
The Arava Center for Sustainable Development at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel
Water is a fundamental and irreplaceable resource for all life on earth. Increasing world populations have led to growing water needs resulting in water supplies in many regions being unable to meet demand - the result: water scarcity. In arid lands, high consumption and low water quality are often combined leading to specific water scarcity challenges. In the face of this growing water scarcity, the management of alternative, non-conventional water sources for agricultural and domestic use and the conservation and restoration of ecosystems in arid lands has become a necessity. The treatment and reuse of marginal water resources (sewage water, contaminated water, saline water and seawater) are now understood to be essential for meeting the growing water needs of the world's arid regions.
This training program, to be held at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies' (AIES) Center for Sustainable Development, located on Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel, where the annual rainfall is below 50 mm per year, provides an opportunity for mid-level professionals from the private, non-profit, agricultural, environmental and public sectors to gain knowledge about the basics for the management and treatment of marginal water resources for human use and the environment in arid regions. Israel, a desert country, has led the world in the development of marginal water (wastewater treatment and reuse and desalination) for overcoming aridity and meeting both human and environmental water needs. This program will highlight the technologies and policies that Israel has developed in meeting and overcoming water scarcity in arid regions and the applicability of the Israeli experience to other arid regions of the world. The primary topics include the principles of marginal water management, irrigation with marginal water, decentralized marginal water treatment technologies (constructed wetlands), sea water and brackish water desalination and stream rehabilitation. The training program will utilize the extensive knowledge of the Center for Transboundary Water Management at AIES and the Eilat-Eilot Regional Authority and Agricultural Research and Development Station.
The program will be composed of lectures by experts in their fields, as well as field trips to visit technologies and marginal water resources installations in action. Participants will be encouraged to share their own professional experiences, to network, and work jointly in applying various solutions to their domestic situations in their home countries.
The target audience for this program is those who are interested in expanding their knowledge and options for initiatives in marginal water resources management in arid lands for implementation in their communities.
This training program is intended for mid-level professionals, working for government, non-governmental organizations, decision-making bodies, academia and the private sector in water resources management (such as water utilities and agencies, government water ministries and offices, water conservation and management NGOs, agricultural cooperatives and agencies, water technology companies and so on).
The program will be conducted in English. It is essential that the participants have a high level of reading, writing and speaking in English.
Participants should have at least the equivalent of a university degree or professional diploma, preferably in a field related to water resources management.
Specific Objectives of the Workshop
– Understand the current trends of water resources management locally, nationally, and on a global basis with respect to arid lands.
– Improve the participants’ knowledge of identifying and leveraging opportunities for marginal water resources management in arid lands.
– Introduce the participants to marginal water technologies and practices.
– Participants will acquire tools in order to coordinate and manage sustainable development projects using marginal water.
– Participants will learn about marginal water use for irrigation and drylands agriculture.
– Participants will gain experience on decentralized and off-grid wastewater treatment and reuse technologies.
– Provide participants with expert advice on specific questions they may have regarding marginal water utilization in their home countries.
The training program will consist of theory and practice as follows:
Marginal water management and technologies in arid lands
Academic Supervision: Dr. Clive Lipchin, Director, the Center for Transboundary Water Management at AIES
Participants will learn about marginal water treatment and reuse technologies used in Israel, a desert country with an annual average rainfall of only 400 mm per year on both large and small scales. This section of the course will include lectures and informal conversations with leading researchers, a tour of marginal water technologies at the AIES and the Arava desert region where marginal water resources technologies are being tested and used in cooperation with local communities for agricultural, environmental and domestic needs.
Participants will also learn about the design and installation of off-grid constructed wetland and biogas systems (methane biodigesters using marginal water) to meet the water needs of local communities in arid regions.
The course will include several field trips.
During the time at AIES, there will be day trips in the southern Arava desert to visit sites appropriate to the course focus and opportunities for free evenings in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat.
At the end of the course, a trip will be organized to Jerusalem as well as to large scale desalination and wastewater treatment and reuse sites currently in operation along the Mediterranean Coast in Israel. The group will spend two nights in Jerusalem where the program will be concluded. The field trip will include a guided tour of the sites of the three religions of the Holy Land and free time in Jerusalem.
Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation, known as MASHAV in its Hebrew acronym, was founded in 1958 as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is responsible for initiating and implementing Israel's development cooperation program worldwide. MASHAV aims at transferring the expertise and technologies that have assisted Israel in its own path to development to other countries. Today, Israel cooperates with over 140 countries, providing training in Israel and abroad, operating on-site demonstration projects and building sustainable development infrastructure in partner countries. MASHAV is active in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine and from community development to entrepreneurship.
The Arava Center for Sustainable Development at the Arava Institute
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region’s environmental challenges. Located in the heart of Israel’s Arava desert, the Arava Institute is a unique oasis of environmental education, research, and international cooperation.
By disseminating arid land research developed in the southern Arava through multifaceted educational opportunities to developing countries, the Arava Center for Sustainable Development (ACSD) seeks to enable the sustainable development of arid lands beyond the borders of Israel. ACSD was established to facilitate the dissemination of expert knowledge to developing communities facing environmental challenges and appropriate technological needs. The activities of ACSD focus on community participatory implementation of appropriate technologies in the fields of water, alternative energy solutions, agro-technologies and best agricultural practices.
Students and researchers at the Arava Institute and ACSD explore a range of environmental issues from a regional, interdisciplinary perspective while learning peace-building and leadership skills. The studies are international in scope, with a student body comprised of Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, and North Americans, as well as other nationalities. The Arava Institute gives Jewish, Arab and other students and researchers a unique opportunity to study and live together for an extended period of time; building networks and understanding that will enable future cooperative work and activism in the Middle East and beyond. Here, the idea that nature knows no political borders is more than a belief. It is a fact, a curriculum, and a way of life.
Participants will stay in the guesthouse of Kibbutz Ketura, located nearby the offices and classrooms of the Arava Institute. The facilities include large air-conditioned rooms with kitchenette, private full bathrooms with shower, and cable television. The participants will be housed two to a double room.
Kibbutz Ketura is a collective community, located in the Arava valley of Israel. It is approximately 50 kilometers from the Red Sea resort city of Eilat in the south of Israel. In December, the weather will be moderate; temperatures will range from around 22°-28°C during the day and down to about 10°C at night. For more information on Kibbutz Ketura, you can access the website at: http://ketura.org.il/
All meals are provided in the kosher dining facilities of Kibbutz Ketura. The lobby café of the guesthouse offers free computer use and free wireless Internet accessibility for laptop users. All facilities are accessible to the physically disabled. Staff members of the Institute will be available to assist the participants when needed.
Participants are advised to bring suitable clothing and comfortable shoes for field trips. A more detailed list of suggested clothing and other items to bring will be sent to participants together with the acceptance packet.