Israel leads the world in agricultural water reuse and has been successfully using recycled water for irrigation of food crops for more than 30 years. Since Israel has a severely limited supply of both water and arable land, it has developed innovative agricultural methods and technologies, such as combining the use of recycled water with drip irrigation and intensive greenhouse agriculture. As a result, the agricultural output of Israel has flourished, effectively solving one of the world’s most dramatic regional water crises.
The October 8-9, 2018 Global Water Reuse, Food and Health Workshop, funded by a grant from the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), aimed to encourage and promote a binational, interdisciplinary scientific network focused on the global urgency to enable safe water reuse for food crop irrigation worldwide, providing science- and technology-based solutions to advance agriculture and protect public health. At the Global Water Reuse, Food and Health Workshop, attendees collaborated to define directions and opportunities for actionable science that establishes new, sustainable on-farm water treatment solutions and production technologies that enable farmers to safely reuse water for the successful irrigation and growth of food crops that are safe to eat. Participants from around the world agreed that the workshop: 1) promoted increased contact between Israeli and U.S. scientists who work in academic, agricultural and industrial settings across all perspectives along the water-soil-plant-human continuum (“farm-to-fork”); and 2) included the participation of graduate students and early career researchers in research lightning rounds. The U.S. and Israeli organizers of this workshop, Dr. Amy R. Sapkota (University of Maryland), Dr. Yael Mishael (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Dr. Erick Bandala (Desert Research Institute, Nevada), and Dr. Clive Lipchin (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, Israel), have collaborations in agricultural water reuse. Moreover, several of the other speakers have begun to engage in binational research efforts. Bringing together, in-person, a diverse, interdisciplinary, binational group of scientists, engaged in all perspectives relating to successful water reuse for food crop irrigation, is key to fostering future team science and systems-based approaches that can ultimately support local-to-global solutions.