Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research scientists are researching one of the great challenges to water conservation: desalination. Indeed, technologies in this area are quickly advancing, offering Israel the prospect of overcoming the difficult task of supplying this thirsty nation with fresh water. The Blaustein Institutes are among the top facilities in the world to be studying desalinating water using solar energy.
Much has been done to share the benefits of these discoveries in sustainable ecology outside Israel. Pedro Berliner, director of the Blaustein Institutes, says: “The Negev is like one big laboratory of arid regions in the world. And our institute has the great advantage of being at the location of its research. It’s what makes it special.” Recently, he has been basing some of his work on ancient Nabataean farming methods: learning from the land itself. Berliner notes that Blaustein scientists have led a reforestation project in northwest Kenya that is helping to provide refugees with much-needed firewood; similar programs have been set up in India, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Their aquaculture techniques have been adopted in many countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Namibia. Furthermore, he says, “the Negev aquifer extends right into Sinai, and the Egyptians are showing an interest in using our methods to develop it.”
“Our motto is to turn curses into blessings,” says Berliner, who has made his home in the Negev since 1987. “The temperature of the desert is high, but this is conducive to plant and animal growth. The water is salty, but many good things can be done with it. The Negev is quite far from the center of the country . . . but this means more affordable real estate!”
Israel shares the plight of desertification with countries all over the planet—sharing its research on ways to live successfully with the desert.
Related Reading: It’s not the desert that’s the enemy at Israel21c.org.