The Province of Manitoba and Israel Have A Watershed Moment

water canada manitobaA joint Manitoba-Israel collaboration on research into wetlands and watersheds will be supported by a $100,000 grant from the province, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick announced today. “This is especially important for Manitoba as we move forward to restore and protect our wetlands including the large Delta and Netley/Libau marshes on the southern shores of Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg,” Melnick said.

The grant will help the International Institute for Sustainable Development implement a joint project with the Galilee Technology Centre in Israel (MIGAL). The project arose from collaboration between scientists from Manitoba and Israel that began last August with the very successful Manitoba-Israel Water Experts Symposium, said the minister.

Scientists from Manitoba, Israel and Mexico will work together to establish an Agricultural Wetland/Watershed Research Network. The network will provide an Internet-based forum for researchers around the world whose work focuses on the role and function of wetlands and watershed research in largely agricultural regions.

This site will serve as a globally credible source of accurate scientific information that can be used by policy-makers and other researchers interested in the flow of nutrients and other contaminants, the value of wetlands to society, the role of wetlands in providing resiliency to watersheds during times of drought and the role of protecting downstream freshwater lakes such as Lake Winnipeg.

As well, the project will be useful to the many Manitoba conservation districts engaged in developing watershed management plans and will be consistent with establishment of a research chair in watershed sciences at the University of Manitoba announced in April 2008, the minister added.

“Israel has a long history of successfully managing many unique water quality and water supply issues throughout its history,” said Miriam Ziv, Israel’s ambassador to Canada, who is visiting Winnipeg today. “The partnership with Manitoba will be of great benefit to both jurisdictions.”

Also today, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael in Israel and its Canadian office, the Jewish National Fund of Canada, invited Manitoba water scientists to Israel to take part in the second international water symposium in January 2010.

“The Jewish National Fund of Canada is pleased to be a partner with Manitoba and its Department of Water Stewardship,” said Mel Lazareck, president of the Prairie Region of the Jewish National Fund of Canada.

Also in attendance at the first water experts’ symposium in Winnipeg in 2008 was Israel’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Shalom Simhon and the world president of the Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael Efi Stenzler.

“The Jewish National Fund of Canada is proud to be partnering with our forward-thinking Provincial Department of Water Stewardship about this most important natural resource – water, the international importance of which will continue to grow,” said Erez Rotem, Israel’s representative of the Jewish National Fund for the Prairie Region of Canada.

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