Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, is receiving an interview with Xinhua. (Xinhua Photo)
by Xinhua writer Chen Wenxian
JERUSALEM, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Every drop of water should be used twice in order to deal with the increasingly severe shortage of water resources, said Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
People in many countries are suffering from severe shortage of water resources and that is a great problem, said Shechtman.
"Global warming is a fact that we should blame and one immediate result is that some countries are becoming arid," he said, "It has a terrible social effect."
A World Bank report said that almost one fourth of the world's countries are now suffering the shortage of water resources. Rough estimates show that as many as two thirds of the world's population would suffer water crisis by 2025.
According to the forecast from the World Bank, the shortage of water resources would likely cause an annual economic loss of 500 billion US dollars, and the worst situation is that the shortage of water resources would lead to the happening of war and terrorism activities.
Shechtman took Syria as an example. He said the drought is much worse than 900 years ago in Syria and lots of fields in the country now have dried out and people could not live anymore. The severe shortage of water resources is one of the key factors leading to the terrible war in Syria, according to Shechtman.
The water problem in the world is a crucial and burning issue and efforts should be done to start solving it now, said Shechtman. "We are able to provide clean water to everybody on the globe but it requires long-range planning of the world, not only individual countries."
Thus, in the eyes of Shechtman, for the whole world, it is a vital method to develop and implement technology to save, manage and take full use of water resources in order to deal with the shortage of water resources.
With the aim of fighting against the shortage of water resources, Israel, where about 60 percent of its territory is arid zones, has developed world-advanced water management technologies, including sea water desalination, dripping irrigation, and water recycling system, etc.
"We do not suffer from drought because of two reasons," said Shechtman, "one is desalination that allows us to have clean and fresh water, and the other is the water recycling system."
So far, Israel has built and operated six large desalination plants and as high as 80 percent of drinking water in Israel is offered by these plants. Moreover, Israel is exporting its water management technologies such as desalination technology and water high-efficient utilization technology to about 150 countries and regions.
The water people use will go eventually to the sewer system and the water is cleaned again and used in agriculture, said Shechtman. "When it goes to agriculture, we do not flood the fields and we have drip irrigation that we have developed. Every plant gets a few drops of water, just what the plant needs, no more no less."
At present, in Negev, located in southern Israel and covered by desert, 70 percent of agriculture is irrigated by recycled water.
This technology, which seems to be very basic, makes big change. That is why Israel not only has enough fruits and vegetables in an area suffering from severe drought but also sells fruits and vegetables to Europe. "This should be done in many countries," he noted.
Shechtman has devoted himself in introducing Israeli advanced water management technologies to countries which are suffering water shortage and countries eager to improve the utilization of water resources, including China.
He has visited China for several times for pushing forward the cooperation between Israel and China in this sector and introduced Israeli water management technology to China.
So far, more than 400 technological companies being involved in the water management sector in Israel are serving Israel and other countries of the world as well. As early as in the 1990s, China conducted cooperation with Israel in water-saving irrigation, and the technology of drip irrigation has been used widely in China.