Despite Israel's constant struggle to maintain a sufficient water supply – or perhaps because of it – Israel was named the world's most efficient recycled water user in a United Nations report issued in honor of International Water Day.
Presented at the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul, the UN report also ranked Israel as one of the world's leaders in desalinated water use.
Officials at the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute noted that water technology exports have doubled since 2005, with 200 Israeli companies exporting $1.4 billion worth of water management, recycling and purification, irrigation, desalination, and safety technologies to over 100 countries in 2008.
Israel purifies and reuses almost 70 percent of its waste water each year for agriculture. Much of the leftover sewage water is reused for other purposes.
Israel vastly outranks even the second most efficient recycled water user – Spain – which only recycles 12 percent of its waste water for agriculture. In Turkey, the host country of the forum, only 3.6 percent of sewage water is recycled.
According to the UN, approximately 1.4 million children die annually as a result of drinking polluted water. In China, roughly 10,000 chemical plants are located on the banks of the country's two largest rivers.
Environmentalist group Friends of the Earth-Middle East, recommends that Israel set its next goal at reducing domestic water consumption, which is still significantly higher than in other developed countries.