Wisconsin's Cave Point on the coast of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin's Cave Point on the coast of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin's Cave Point on the coast of Lake Michigan. (Photo: Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock)

Wisconsin teams up with Israel to tackle water issues

State is following in the footsteps of California and Nevada, which are already working with the Mediterranean country.

When you think of Wisconsin, several things might come to mind: delicious cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and "Laverne & Shirley." Soon, you may be able to add another item to that list: water expertise.

Wisconsin – which is home to two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior – has invited Israeli startups that focus on water technology to test their products in the Midwestern state. The collaboration is the result of a trip to Israel taken by delegates from the state along with Gov. Scott Walker.

The initial set of projects will focus on a variety of areas, some of which will help detect contaminants in storm water runoff and remove pollutants from the state's water. “These partnerships will strengthen the sector in both countries, and are expected to open new markets to water technology companies in Wisconsin and Israel," Walker said.

The partnership involves several institutions on both continents – including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University in the U.S. and Ben-Gurion University in Israel. The latter is home to the Zuckerberg Institute, Israel's largest and leading water institute, which has sent students all across the globe to help with water scarcity issues.

Wisconsin is following in the footsteps of California and Nevada, two states that are already taking advantage of partnerships with Israeli water technology companies. California is home to the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. Built by Israel's IDE Technologies, the plant provides reliable, clean drinking water for more than 400,000 households. Israel is helping Nevada create a water technology hub to help maximize water efficiency in the parched American West.

Seth Siegel is the author of the bestselling book "Let There Be Water: Israel's Solution for a Water-Starved World." He spent four years doing research, and what he found out surprised him. "Lo and behold, I discovered that Israel has the world's most sophisticated water system. It's a really inspiring story," he told From The Grapevine. Through the course of 250 pages, Siegel weaves the narrative of how a group of offbeat inventors and radical thinkers – including an opera singer who became a sewage expert – created some of the world's most defining and lasting water technologies.

"Around the world," Siegel added, "the rapidly growing number of water-stressed communities can learn from Israel's example."

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