earth day drop above cracked ground earth day drop above cracked ground California is looking abroad for help with its record-setting drought. (Photo: sakepaint / Shutterstock)

California embraces high-tech alliance to help ease drought crisis

Entrepreneurs and investors from Israel and Silicon Valley converge to bring green tech innovation to the Golden State.

With California on the verge of six years of record-breaking drought, officials are hedging their bets less on a reprieve from Mother Nature and more on the ingenuity and innovation of humanity to help ease the crisis.

One such initiative meant to tackle the issue head-on is the new Israel-California Green-Tech Partnership. Announced last week at Google's headquarters in Tel Aviv, the collaboration is focused on leveraging the talent and innovation from two of the world's leading startup ecosystems to help foster new ideas in solving some big issues. The first problem out of the gate is California's water crisis. It's a situation that Israel, itself a leader in water innovation, is deeply familiar with.

“The drought in California presents us with a problem that Israel has faced for a long time," former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz said in a statement. "It makes me hopeful that bright people there have made innovation a part of their response. Meeting our water needs will take similarly bright people here and throughout the rest of the United States coming together to understand their experiences – and to work out novel answers."

Israel CaliforniaA screenshot from the new Israel-California Green-Tech Partnership website. (Photo: Israel-California Green-Tech Partnership)

The partnership's steering committee had many high profile figures including Glenn Yago, the senior director of the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

Collaborations with Israel on efficient water solutions has become an increasingly common theme over the last several years. In addition to the new Carlsbad Desalination Project in San Diego that's scheduled to begin turning sea water into clean drinking water later this fall, Israeli technology and conservation practices are also being used in partnerships with both the cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

"We can learn a lot from Israel," California State Assembly member Richard Bloom said. "A partnership based on innovation and green development will not only benefit our respective state and countries, but also provide solutions that could be used internationally. Working together we can ensure a prosperous future for our people and our planet.”

In addition to solutions involving drip irrigation, rainwater capture, grey water recycling and other water-efficiency measures, the Israel-California Green-Tech Partnership will also address issues such as energy, electric vehicles, green building design and climate issues.


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