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The research program of the GWRI is created through two inter-related processes:
(a) identification of priority topics, which address the most important issues and problems facing the Israeli water sector, through deliberations of working groups and consultations with professionals from Israel's water sector, and
(b) initiatives by research teams who wish to pursue innovative and promising directions.

The GWRI engages in a structured process of stimulating group thinking and interaction, which leads to identification of the areas most deserving research. At the same time, it is recognized that innovations often come through probing into uncharted territory, which is best done by talented and persistent individuals.

List of Priority Research Areas and Topics

The GWRI research policy is aimed at gaining a visible impact in addressing Israel's major water problems. The emphasis is therefore placed on research leading to an increase in the quantity and improvement of the quality of Israel's water, innovation, and the drawing of talented young researchers into water-related research. While the priority topics are selected for their contribution to Israel's water sector, the criteria for evaluation of research projects are based on their scientific merit. The GWRI currently has five "Laboratories", each concentrating on a particular area. The research activity within the "Laboratories" is open to all GWRI members interested in the specific field, subject to the Research Committee review. Organization within laboratories helps in defining research goals, concentrating efforts and providing leadership for the defined research field.

The following describes briefly the domain of each Laboratory and lists a few of the research projects being conducted (with funding sources listed in parentheses).

The Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert Water Quality and Water Treatment Laboratory - led by Professor Yehuda Agnon
Concentrates on protection of water quality in the sources, remediation approaches and technologies, and on technologies for water treatment. Projects being conducted include: Lake Kinneret watershed contamination transports - a GIS based hydrological model (funded by the Israel Water Commission); Quality and quantity of water along the Jordan river: the role of subsurface inflows (funded by USAID MERC); Use of naturally growing aquatic plants for wastewater purification in Israel (funded by Keren Kayemet).

The Laboratory for Wastewater Treatment and Reuse - led by Professor Carlos Dosoretz
Was established with funding from the Fohs Foundation. The Laboratory is designed to promote new advanced technologies for wastewater treatment and reuse, with focus on municipal, industrial and marginal wastewater. A central activity underway comprises desalination and purification of secondary effluents to a quality practically that of potable water, based on an integrative treatment process that combins state-of-the-art technologies. This activity is primarily supported by the Infrastructure Program of the Ministry of Science, with complementary funds from the GWRI, Israel Water Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environmental Quality, with a total annual budget around 1,600,000 NIS.

The Mitchell Family Foundation Water Resources Management Laboratory - led by Professor Uri Shamir
Provides the framework for projects on Water-Sensitive Urban Planning (funded by the Water Commission, Ministries of Housing and of the Environment), on optimal control of large water distribution systems, (a joint project with the Universities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, Valencia, Spain and Ferrara, Italy, funded by the European Community), on Expert System for Precise Plot Irrigation (jointly funded with the Ministry of Agriculture), Innovative Systems for Early Warning Monitoring in Drinking Water Distribution Networks, and, Lake Kinneret Watershed Contamination Transports: a GIS Based Hydrological Model (both jointly funded with the Water Commission).

The Rabin Desalination Laboratory - led by Professor Rafi Semiat and aided by Professor Emeritus David Hasson
Continues on a broad program of research in all areas of desalination, using advanced membrane and thermal treatment technologies. The Laboratory concentrates on research aspects related to cost reduction of Reverse Osmosis Desalination technology. This includes fouling prevention, fluid dynamics and mass transfer close to membrane wall, improvement of module design, and treatment of concentrates. The laboratory researchers made a significant move together with the sewage treatment laboratory towards a modern solution of salinity removal from wastewater effluents using membranes. The external financial support for the RDL came from Mekorot, the Water Commission, Infrastructure projects of the Science Ministry, and other Ministries and authorities.

The Seidel Fluid Flow Laboratory - led by Dr. Uri Shavit
Applies measurement techniques such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Measurements are used to study flow phenomena and mass transfer in open channels with vegetation, dispersion in wetlands, the relationship between roughness and the characteristics of velocity fields of flow over porous surfaces and resuspension mechanisms in periodic flows, particle resuspension and particle transport in waves. The Laboratory also utilizes field instrumentation, such as Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry (ADV), to measure velocity and flow rates in the lower Jordan River. These instruments and measurements are funded in part by US-AID MERC.

The Palestinian-Jordanian-Israeli Joint Project (PJIP) - led by Professor Emeritus Josef Hagin
This joint project of Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli researchers is designed to develop and apply technologies for wastewater treatment and reuse in agriculture that are suitable for the conditions prevailing in the region. Low quality effluent, after secondary treatment in stabilization ponds and sequencing batch reactors is brought to standards suitable for unrestricted irrigation by integrated membrane technologies, micro-filtration, ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis. These technologies are adapted to small-scale water treatment plants. Irrigation management is designed to take into account water quality, soil properties and their interactions, crop demands, and minimizing environmental and health hazards. Regional cooperation by coordinated research, training and meetings is maintained over the whole period of the project. The project has been funded over the years by the British Technion Society, the Rothschild Foundation and the Beracha Foundation. US-AID's MERC (Middle East Research Cooperation) approved in May 2003 a budget of $1,794,800 for a 3-year period to the project.

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