NEW YORK, NY (June 19, 2014) – University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) Director Sharon B. Megdal participated in a panel briefing at the United Nations today on potential solutions to global water challenges.
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) and its partners arranged the “Every Drop of Water Makes a Difference” briefing in New York, to discuss water-related issues affecting arid countries with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and U.N. representatives.
The panel included Dr. Megdal and fellow experts Dr. Clive Lipchin (Director, Center of Transboundary Water Management, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel) and Seth M. Siegel, businessman and writer on water issues. JNF Vice President of Government Relations Joseph Hess moderated the panel session.
Dr. Megdal’s presentation focused on how transboundary water challenges in the Middle East parallel those in other parts of the world, comparing the region’s issues to those of the United States and Mexico, where successful cooperation was achieved through the International Boundary and Water Commission.
According to Dr. Megdal, the range of water supply solutions is the same across the globe: reuse, conservation, good governance, desalination, aquifer recharge and more. Water projects in Israel and Jordan have focused on grey water use, while an Israeli-Palestinian transboundary water project involves wastewater flow and treatment. A major key to water cooperation, she said, is creating and maintaining open channels of communication.
“The Middle East region is an exciting ‘living laboratory’ for developing and implementing solutions to challenges of water scarcity,” Megdal said. “My work in this region and elsewhere, including at the border between the United States and Mexico, focuses on how we can learn from each other and identify water management and policy solutions at different geographic scales. Every drop of water does count and we all have a role to play in stewardship of this most vital of all resources.”