Netafim announced that using treated wastewater in drip irrigation worldwide increases the supply of water available for agriculture, thereby helping to combat food scarcity. Underscoring the importance of wastewater utilization in agriculture, Netafim is chairing a panel session at this week's WATEC Israel 2015, a world-leading conference on water technologies. "Using wastewater for irrigation: An effort that is worth making will address how utilization of treated wastewater not only helps ensure food security, but also offers agronomic and environmental benefits.
Global water use has been growing at more than double the rate of the world's population growth during the last century. And with the global population expected to rise by over 30% by 2050, freshwater withdrawals are projected to expand by 55% during that period, further increasing food scarcity concerns.
With agriculture responsible for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals, an increase in the water supply available for irrigation is crucial. As such, the use of treated wastewater for crop cultivation is a key to bringing about food security. At the same time, wastewater supplies the irrigated plant with many of the nutrients it requires, as well as other micronutrients and organic matter. These agronomic and environmental benefits, together with the relatively low cost of treated water, make wastewater usage in irrigation a highly attractive solution.
The implications of wastewater usage in irrigation are even more significant given the UN General Assembly's adoption of the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development last month. Led by a call to end global poverty and hunger, the Sustainable Development Goals also include achieving food security, promoting sustainable agriculture, and ensuring sustainable management of water for all.
Established in 1965, Netafim, the pioneer of drip irrigation, initially focused on helping Israeli growers overcome the country's severe water shortage. Created by farmers for farmers, Netafim understands the challenges that growers face. Since introducing the world's first commercialized dripper in 1966, Netafim has continuously invested in the development of water-saving technologies to improve irrigation efficiency. Today, Netafim's products maintain the highest clogging resistance in the industry, enabling the use of treated wastewater without compromising on irrigation system reliability over time.
"Israel is the overwhelming global leader in treated wastewater usage in irrigation, with about 50% of its effluent treated and used for irrigation," Dr. Yoav Zeif, Netafim's Head of Americas and chair of this week's WATEC panel session, said. "Based on our experience, we are convinced that using treated wastewater in drip irrigation is one of the ways we can overcome the global food scarcity challenge. Drip irrigation also offers a 'clean' way to dispose of wastewater that otherwise cannot be released to nature, as well as other significant environmental benefits, to further ensure a sustainable future."
In addition to hosting the WATEC panel session, Netafim will be involved in several other activities throughout the three-day conference. CEO Ran Maidan will address WATEC speakers and other distinguished guests at a pre-conference dinner, and will participate in the closing panel session, "From a Start-Up Nation to a Partnership Nation." The company will also host several international delegations comprised of businesspeople and journalists at its sites throughout Israel during the conference.