In the last two decades, Israel has been transformed from a thirsty country in the Middle East to a leading international exporter of water-treatment technologies, eyed by neighboring nations and those in Africa for its tackling of one of the world’s biggest problems.
A new film documents such developments in all its boggy detail. “Sustainable Nation,” which screened at the AFI Theater in Silver Spring, Md., on Wednesday as part of the 2019 Washington Jewish Film Festival, follows the stories of three Israelis who have been part of such a change.
“The wars of the future will be fought over water,” said the film’s director, Micah Smith, at a panel following the screening. “I hope films like this can make people aware and start thinking about solutions.”
While agriculture and industry put a stress on water resources in developed nations, large populations in other countries lack access to clean water for basic needs such as drinking and showering. According to the World Orgs, contaminated drinking water is responsible for some 500,000 deaths every year. Sivan Ya’ari, founder of Innovation Africa, tackles this problem through a unique, solar-based water-pumping solution that allows small villages in Africa to develop their own water resources.
All about the bio-sustainable solutions
This method, as Ya’ari explains in the movie, also aims to empower local women by giving them control of the decision-making around the newly established resource. While the entity is able to monitor the health of the infrastructure over time, Ya’ari pointed out that management of the facilities remains with the locals.
“What motivates me the most is the simplicity of the solutions,” she concluded. “We’ve helped so many villages through the years, but our work is still small compared to the need.” To date, IA has helped 200 villages across eight African countries become water independent.
Alongside Ya’ari and Guy, Eli Cohen, founder of Ayala Water and Ecology, is hoping that his company could help communities living in proximity to contaminated water sources in India.
India’s outdated infrastructure created a situation where sewage runs directly into rivers and aquifers, putting millions of lives at risk. Authorities have realized the need to tackle the problem, but are often hampered by “too much bureaucracy” and rely on the “wrong solutions” for their specific situation, according to Cohen.