dws-wetskills-israel-award-ceremony-wientjes-770pxA team of two Israeli and two Dutch water students won the Wetskills Water Challenge Israel 2013 with their concept Reclaim Agriculture about improving the social context of using reclaimed water for agricultural purposes in Arabic areas in Israel.

The closing ceremony of Wetskills Water Challenge took place in Tel Aviv on 8 December at a special water seminar during the Dutch trade mission to Israel led by prime minister Mark Rutte.

The winning team with - on top photo from left to right  -  Noa Aharoni (Tel Aviv University), Erinke Siegersma (Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences), Menno Brouwer (Wageningen University) and Denis Shteynberg (Technion) received the award from chairman Bernard Wientjes of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (middle).

dws-wetskills-israel-shefa-amr-city-350pxSolution for recovery local farming
The concept Reclaim agriculture is a solution inspired on the existing water scarcity around the predominantly Arab city of Shefa-Amr, near Haifa, where villagers had to stop their traditional land farming due to lack of potable water. Reduced agricultural yields affected the livelihoods of locals and damaged the social-economic fabric of the region.

By using reclaimed water from the waste water treatment plant and using alternative crops the agricultural activities can return and the farm land restored.

The winning team worked on guidelines for using reclaimed water and communication of the concept to farmers.

The jury highlighted the practical and technical concept for a social challenge. "It has a great potential to increase the profitability of irrigation for small farms."

Amazing experience
Program manager Johan Oost of Wetskills looks back at a very successful edition. "Again an amazing experience! The student teams did a fantastic job and found concrete and useful concepts for the challenges."

Supervisor Janneke Diels states: "It is very important that students and young water professionals are enabled to bring in their fresh and innovative ideas on international water challenges. Because of water scarcity in Israel there is always a need for innovation in the Israeli water sector. I think this is an important reason why the Wetskills Water Challenge has been such a big success. The results of the students are highly appreciated by the involved parties, and provide a solid basis for follow up."

About the Wetskills
The Wetskills Water Challenge is a two-week event for students from all over the world. The participants developed their own innovative and creative concepts for broad water issues in a changing world.

In multidisciplinary and intercultural groups, the students gained more in-depth knowledge on the challenge topics by workshops of renowned water experts and field trips.

It was the eleventh edition of the international challenge that has previously taken place in China, Morocco, Netherlands, Indonesia, Oman, South-Africa, Egypt, Romania and Mozambique.

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