Opinion

How water is being used to further cooperation in our region

Israel and Morocco needed to find ways to make the wilderness bloom.

Lake Kinneret in northern Israel on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
Lake Kinneret in northern Israel on Oct. 21, 2021. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90.
H.E. Abderrahim Beyyoudh and Robert Singer
Robert Singer is chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact and former CEO of the World Jewish Congress. H.E. Abderrahim Beyyoudh is the Head of the Liaison Office of the Kingdom of Morocco to the State of Israel.

Water has always been an important element as a source of life and the well-being of humanity is dependent on it, thus it is no coincidence this is stressed in the holy books. Water has historically been a pivot, both in creating happiness as well as sadness and destruction in the world.

Water is increasingly becoming an important leverage for cooperation and collaboration, and partners can work together to expand knowledge about how to safeguard and reuse water, which, in turn, can help maintain and strengthen the circle of fraternity.

This reality has forced us to be creative.

We saw possible threats and turned them into opportunities.

What the land could not bless us with, our minds had to develop independently.

Survival quite simply compelled our nations to take serious steps to ensure a high degree of self-supply of water resources, and guarantee advantage with constant improvement and develop intensive technologies for water conservation and reuse.

Israel and Morocco needed to find ways to make the wilderness bloom, to grow in desertified areas, and to overcome a lack of water.

Only a few years ago, during the worst drought in almost a millennium, the Jewish state was fast running out of water. Israelis became fixated with the rapidly sinking red line of the Kinneret, and it seemed only a matter of time before this major water resource would no longer be usable.

However, thanks to Israeli technology and the urgency of the time, for the first time in this land’s history, Israel now has a surplus of water.

This incredible reversal was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s dwindling water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of state-of-the-art desalination plants.

Israel has perfected this knowledge and technology so as to be able to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any other nation on the planet.

It is precisely this knowledge and technology that we now share with our friends in the region and beyond.

In the case of Morocco, thanks to the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the country has managed to promote successful policies and an integrated approach to meet its water needs, through the mobilization of conventional and non-conventional water resources, the management of water demand and its development through structuring projects, including the continued construction of small and large dams to support the dynamics of local development.

It also includes the reuse of treated wastewater, the modernization of drinking water distribution networks, in addition to the desalination of seawater using renewable energy to reduce its cost.

Just last month, His Majesty King Mohammed VI chaired a working session devoted to the follow-up of the National Program for Drinking Water Supply and Irrigation 2020-2027. The meeting is part of the interest and high concern of His Majesty the King, to the strategic issue of water, which has been the subject of important Royal Directions contained in the Opening Speech of the Parliament, last October, and three working sessions chaired by the Sovereign.

It is no wonder that one of the six Working Groups of the Negev Forum, a platform for enhancing cooperation between countries in the region, is focused on dealing with water security.

This is why the Liaison Office of Morocco in Israel and the Center for Jewish Impact are co-hosting a Diplomatic Salon focused on creating opportunities for regional cooperation through water.

This event is taking place at a critical time when countries in the region are increasingly facing severe drought and water scarcity, combined with global climate change challenges. It is also happening while Morocco is facing its most serious drought in more than three decades.

The ties between the Kingdom of Morocco and the State of Israel have, since resuming relations in 2021, witnessed a steadfast cooperation in various fields, many of which are related to water, chosen as our topic for the salon.

We are glad to see a high-level Morocco delegation taking part in this important seminar, which is going to further strengthen collaboration between our two countries on water-related issues, a field that also offers great potential for investment and business partnerships in the region. 

Together, we will promote knowledge-sharing and best practices in water usage, desalination technologies and water for enhancing business ties and regional cooperation. By leveraging these important technologies, we can not only address water scarcity in the region but also use water as a means of bringing people together and building bridges of understanding and cooperation.

We also strongly believe that water bears a significant potential for investment opportunities that can foster bilateral and regional cooperation between the countries of the region mainly through water technology transfer.

At this important event, we will create tangible next steps, offering further insight into existing regional cooperation and identifying actionable opportunities for building resilience through water.

The leaders of our region are making history and making the improbable possible. We are seeing a prophetic realization of fraternity in our time, and water is once again the source of life.

We believe an essential part is the role of civil society, involving government, the private sector, the business community and the diplomatic corps.

That is the part we can play to change the face of our region for the better.

The Liaison Office of Morocco in Israel and the Center for Jewish Impact are co-hosting a Diplomatic Salon on water as a tool for regional cooperation between Israel and Morocco.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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