The University of Arizona

Israeli and Palestinian Leaders to Discuss Water Management, in Arizona

By Johnny Cruz, University Communications | August 25, 2009

Tucson is the setting for an important conversation with Israeli and Palestinian officials about water management in the Middle East.

Shaddad Attili
Shaddad Attili
Uri Shani
Uri Shani

Tucson is the setting for an important conversation with Israeli and Palestinian officials about water management in the Middle East.

The University of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center and Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy are hosting a public discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 1, with Shaddad Attili, chairman of the Palestinian Water Authority, and Uri Shani, director general of the Israeli Water Authority.

The public is welcome to "Israeli and Palestinian Water Management and Policy: Challenges Facing Water Managers and Potential Solutions," which takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Westward Look Resort, located at 245 E. Ina Rd. in Tucson.

The public event is a component of the three-day "'Arizona, Israeli and Palestinian Water Management and Policy Workshop," which is bringing together researchers and policy experts from all three regions to identify solutions to water management challenges in arid and semi-arid lands.

Attili has a master's degree from the Yarmouk University of Jordan in the use of natural minerals in water and wastewater treatment. He also has a doctoral degree in water and environment from Orleans University in France.

Shani received his master's and doctoral degrees in soil and water sciences from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"This meeting is a major event for Tucson," said Sharon Megdal, director of the UA Water Resources Research Center. "We're not sure this kind of meeting could take place in the Middle East right now."

Megdal said that the goals of the workshop and the public event are to focus on common challenges – such as water scarcity, agriculture and population growth – facing people in Arizona, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"We are trying to focus on what hat can we learn from each other, and how can we work together to develop solutions to these challenges," Megdal said.

One of the benefits of having this type of conversation in Arizona is that it is out of the political spotlight and in "neutral territory," as Medgal calls it. "We know that water in the Middle East is often a contentious topic," she said. "But there is so much potential for collaboration."

It took more than two years to make it possible to bring the workshop, and Attili and Shani, to the UA, but its impact may extend for many years to come. 

Researchers, water managers and government officials from around the world will be in attendance.

Several water management innovation and research proposals are expected to emerge from the workshop, which will address long-term needs in Arizona, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"The UA is a great fit for this to happen because the breadth of our expertise in water and issues related to water supplies," Megdal said. "We are assembling a diverse group of researchers. We've got legal experts. We have all of the expertise right here."

Sponsors of the event include:

  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. - Israel Binational Science Foundation
  • UA Foundation
  • UA Water Sustainability Program
  • International Arid Lands Consortium
  • International Water History Association
  • Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization
  • Resnick Water Resources Research Endowment
  • UNESCO International Hydrological Programme
  • United Nations Association of Southern Arizona
  • Arizona Center for Judaic Studies
  • UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies
  • Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy
  • UA Water Resources Research Center

Contacts

To RSVP call 520-621-9591 or e-mail wrrc@cals.arizona.edu