Israel is regarded as perhaps the most climate-smart agricultural region in the world. It has to be, with annual rainfall of about 17 inches (source: World Bank). By comparison, portions of the Sierra Nevada, the source of much of California’s water, can receive more than four times that amount.
However, the drought and the prospect of climate change has us challenging our long-held assumptions. That’s why I am pleased to be leading a delegation to Israel (June 17-25) to learn more about the country’s climate smart strategies, especially irrigation technologies and extensive use of recycled water.
Our travels will include a tour of a water management facility in Jerusalem, a visit to a nursery just north of Gaza, and a trip to Netafim, an Israeli Ag technology company in the Negev Desert that also does business in California.
The delegation furthers a relationship between California in Israel that was cemented in 2014, when Governor Brown and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a memorandum of understanding to develop joint projects and conduct mutually beneficial research.
Israel innovates with technology, efficient irrigation, recycled water, and plant breeding for drought conditions and salinity. And it all works – the country is able to produce the most of the food it requires to feed its citizens, yet its per-capita water use is only one-third of California’s. Eighty-five percent of the country’s wastewater is recycled for agricultural use, compared to just 9.5 percent in California.
We’ll be providing updates during our trip. I hope you’ll follow along. I see this as just the beginning of a more extensive and fruitful Climate Smart Ag relationship between Israel and California.
The California Climate Smart Delegation to Israel
-Jason Sharett, California Strawberry Commission
-Robert “Bob” Curtis, Almond Board of California
-Don Cameron, Terranova Ranch, Helm, CA; member, California State Board of Food and Agriculture
-Craig McNamara, Sierra Orchards, Winters, CA; president, California State Board of Food and Agriculture
-Sean McNamara, Sierra Orchards, Winters, CA
-Hank Giclas, Sr. , Western Growers Association
-Timothy A. Jacobsen, Center for Irrigation Technology, CSU Fresno
-Khaled M. Bali, Ph.D, Irrigation/Water Management Advisor, University of California – Cooperative Extension
-Steven Moore, Board Member, State Water Resources Control Board
-Kamyar Guivetchi, P.E, Manager, Statewide Water Planning, California Department of Water Resources
-Brooks D. Ohlson, Director, Sacramento Center for International Trade Development
-Alvar Escriva Bou, Public Policy Institute of California
-Dillon L. Hosier, National Director, Israeli-American Council
-Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for California, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
-Abby Browning, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
– Karen Ross, Secretary, CDFA
-Amrith Gunasekara, Ph.D, Science Advisor to Secretary Ross, CDFA
-Josh Eddy, Executive Director of California State Board of Food and Agriculture
The California Climate-Smart Agriculture Policy Mission is funded in part by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.