Colorado State Senator - District 6

 

Don in the News

Israel’s water strategy could aid Colorado
December 5, 2017

By Katharhynn Heidelberg katharhynnh@montrosepress.com
 

In looking for solutions to water and energy issues, state Sen. Don Coram casts his net wide — most recently, to Israel.


Coram was among legislators and policy leaders selected by JEWISHcolorado for its recent Jewish Community Relations Council Public Officials Mission. The mission took a bipartisan group, including Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, to Israel last week.


Coram and the others got up-close looks at how the Israelis desalinize seawater and recycle water for agriculture in their arid landscape. Although the nation is many thousand miles removed from landlocked Western Colorado, what’s being done there may have potential here, Coram said.


“It’s pretty amazing what they do. I’m trying to figure out how we could make this work in Colorado,” the Montrose Republican said by phone from Jerusalem on Nov. 30.


In his estimation, Israel leads the world in water technology such as the drip irrigation Western Slope farmers have begun employing. Israel also leads in water savings — and in ways to re-use water.


“I think a lot of things I can certainly bring back home to benefit Colorado,” Coram said, making note of the Colorado Water Plan. The plan, prompted by a 2013 executive order and now two years old, set the framework for future water conservation decisions, as well as ambitious implementation goals at the state and local levels.


Sixty percent of water used in Israel comes from desalinization and it is piped into Arab states, too, Coram said. The nation’s fresh water comes from the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a large lake.


The public officials mission took participants on a “full gamut” tour of Israel’s renewable resource efforts — and once, on the Sinai, within about two miles of the terror group ISIS.


The legislators and other mission participants also traveled along the Gaza Strip, but did not proceed to the border because of security concerns.


“We don’t think about it (level of danger), but when we were in Gaza yesterday, we were told if we heard sirens we had 10 to 15 seconds to find cover,” Coram said.

 

Last Thursday, the mission took its guests about 50 miles along the Egyptian border toward the largest solar project in the world, per Coram.


The public officials mission is designed to educate and connect Colorado policymakers and business leaders with people in Israel to share cutting-edge initiatives in technology, agriculture, water rights, conservation and cyber intelligence, according to information from the Denver-based JEWISHcolorado.


“JEWISHcolorado’s mission is to strengthen and steward Jewish life in Colorado, Israel and around the world,” Andra Davidson, the organization’s vice president of marketing and events, said.


“There is no substitute for first-hand experience, and we have created a dynamic trip that gives those attending a first-hand look at the many rich facets of Israel’s culture, business world, innovations and history. We know that the relationships that develop between Colorado and Israel will be beneficial for many years to come.”


The organization’s Jewish Community Relations Council focuses on making its public officials missions bipartisan, and invites people its representatives think are up-and-coming leaders.


The council is a coalition of 38 Jewish organizations and 15 at-large members in the state, who speak as a single voice on issues of concern to the Jewish community.


“It’s been a good trip so far,” Coram said, adding what he’s seen could, if implemented, help the state meet its water plan goals.

 

“The problem we have is we don’t have enough storage for everyone to go to that type of (re-use) system, but it’s one of the tools we need in the tool box. It’s not the final answer.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is an award-winning journalist and the senior writer for the Montrose Daily Press. Follow her on Twitter @kathMDP.

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