Building on a commitment to strengthen international co-operation on pressing water resource issues, the Province of Manitoba will welcome delegates to Winnipeg Aug. 12 to 14 for the first-ever Manitoba-Israel symposium on water protection.“Manitoba and Israel share a common commitment to protecting precious water resources for future generations,” Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick said in a press release. “This symposium will unite policy-makers and leading scientific voices from both Manitoba and Israel to share strategies and best practices on protecting the health of our water.”

The conference will address issues of shared concern to both Manitoba and Israel including wetlands reclamation, algal blooms, wastewater management, nutrient removal and other issues.

Melnick noted climate-change science points to an increased need for adaptation to low water conditions in North America and Manitoba has a great deal to learn from countries such as Israel where such conditions are a way of life.

Melnick also said a new Minister of Water Stewardship Scholarship to allow graduate-level students from Manitoba to pursue water-related studies at a post-secondary institution in Israel.

The new scholarship program, to be administered in partnership with the Jewish National Fund of Canada, will allow a Manitoba student in each of the next 10 years to study at Israeli learning institutions such as the Weizmann Institute of Science.

“These important new scholarships will support scholarly development in a range of areas including nanotechnology, water conservation and water reuse,” Melnick said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s leading voices on water protection and these scholarships will give our young people a unique international experience as they complete their studies.”

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Dr. Sharon Marcovitz Hart, national president of the Jewish National Fund of Canada said Israel and Manitoba share common water challenges and have a shared commitment to take action to improve the health of lakes and rivers. “This first-ever water symposium and the new scholarship program will build on our mutual commitment to make effective use of the best available strategies to protect our water.”

Melnick noted the symposium and new scholarships build on a partnership between the Jewish National Fund and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives on the interchange of technology in agriculture and food production.

Both the minister and provincial water experts have already had initial meetings with their Israeli counterparts regarding the scope and structure of the symposium. The first Minister of Water Stewardship Scholarships will be awarded this year.

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