Public Release: 

Israeli researchers at Ben Gurion U. receive grant to develop urban water program

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

BEER-SHEVA, Israel...May 1, 2015 - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers are joining with colleagues from three other universities to develop a new program, "Creating Water Sensitive Cities in Israel."

"The way we manage urban water shapes almost every aspect of our urban environment and quality of life," according to the researchers. "Water sensitive cities adopt and combine decentralized and centralized water management solutions to deliver water security. We will focus on both water-poor and water-abundant futures, healthy aquifers and urban streams, improvements in urban climates and landscapes, and a reduction in the city's carbon footprint."

The collaboration includes Prof. Asher Brenner of BGU's Environmental Engineering Unit and Prof. Evyatar Erell of BGU's Bona Terra Department of Man in the Desert, along with colleagues from The Technion: Israel Institute of Technology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Australia's Monash University.

Prof. Erell will be responsible for Water Sensitive Urban Planning and Design. The goal is to understand how and where water sensitive strategies can be incorporated into an existing urban fabric to recharge the aquifer and to assess potential enhancement to quality of life, especially the urban microclimate. His team will develop effective strategies for application of storm water harvesting in existing urban locations on the coastal plain by means of detailed mapping of topography, surface cover, infrastructure, and building typology. The data may be used to support development of urban master plans in Israel's cities and worldwide.

Prof. Brenner will be responsible for Water Sensitive Technologies. His team will develop and test hybrid biofilters for stormwater harvesting and treatment in Israel's wet season months. The team will also develop groundwater remedial treatment in the dry seasons (long Israeli summer) that will serve for continuous preservation of the biomass (plants and bacteria) in the treatment systems.

The program is funded by a grant from The Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet L'Israel.

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American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel's southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. AABGU is headquartered in Manhattan and has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.aabgu.org.

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