Seth M. Siegel

Activist & Author of Let There Be Water

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 19, 2016

Discussion

Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
Hi everyone—this is Seth M. Siegel. I’m an activist, entrepreneur, and author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution to a Water-Starved World. I’ve spent the last several years talking to the world’s experts on water. If you’ve been paying attention to the news stories recently about the water crisis in California, you’ll know that the water crisis is real and happening now. Despite that, there’s good news. Solutions to the water crisis have already been invented—and applied for decades—in Israel. About two-thirds of Israel’s water is created from uncommon sources, including the sea and sewage. Israel’s water practices enable it to withstand a decade of severe drought and export water to its neighbors. In fact, in Israel, a small country that is mostly a desert, there are billions of dollars of agricultural exports and over 200 water technology start-ups. By talking to hundreds of water innovators, professionals, and academics, I know a lot about water issues and how to fix them. Please, Ask Me Anything!
QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@sethmsiegel Thank you for taking the time to chat with the community. Your work is very important and inspirational. You mention 200+ water technology start-ups, does that translate to California's problem or are you specifically focused on Israel? How are these startups getting funded, vc, donation, corporate sponsorship? Being an activist are you involved in partnering with any water themed philanthropy causes that directly correlate to your entrepreneurial endeavors?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@queenleariv The start-ups are almost all seeking to reach a global audience. None that I know of are focused only on Israel's small market. Funding comes from many sources, some of which you mention, but the best of all -- which i discuss briefly in my book -- is the incubator program. For approved start-ups, the government provides 85% of the R&D budget in the first two years.
QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@sethmsiegel @queenleariv I am an advocate for an ePhilanthropy platform that helps NPO's & Businesses connect to support causes and get engagement from their audiences. Any advice about how to connect and if those kind of solutions are being considered as a channel? (Like Kickstarter and Facebook's Philanthropy option).
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@queenleariv As a further answer to your question, I have been in a wonderful relationship with JNF-USA. They are hosting Water Summits in 12 US cities. (We've already done Chicago, Boston and San Diego.) I'm the Keynote speaker at all 12 and ofter the moderator at each of these Water Summits. With many more still to go, perhaps we will be at one near you. All are free and open to the public. A real service of JNF-USA. They get nothing out of it other than helping to expand awareness.
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@sethmsiegel @queenleariv If you like what you hear here, follow me on Twitter and tell your friends to do so, too. I tweet about water several times every day.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@sethmsiegel what technologies do you see as helping the water crisis in Israel that can be adapted to help, say help the water shortage in California?
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
(Sorry if this question is covered in the book as I'm only half way though) Other than drip irrigation and the water pricing incentive, both of which stood out to me from the book as having immediate conservation impacts, what, in your opinion, are the top three "lowest lying fruit" in terms of things that humans could implement to gain high water conservation impacts ? Also, what is your take on animal agriculture and the role it plays in this water resource chess game. I came across this "cow-spiracy" infographic and was curious as to your thoughts on it ? http://www.cowspiracy.com/infogr... And thanks for your service to the world with this well-researched and written book! How you were able to accomplish this work of excellence amid your other work is pretty impressive. You're creating a movement of real action on this problem and that's exciting!
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
.@healthyhomeceo I'm flattered by your comments. I wrote the book to help stimulate conversation on water scarcity and, at least vis-a-vis you, I have succeeded. As for other things that can be done to spur conservation, culture change and education are at the top of the list. I'm doing all I can as regards that.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@sethmsiegel where do you see the most exciting forms of water innovation? What type of startups have really excited you in this space? Is there enough VC funding going into water startups?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@harrystebbings Until there is a real price charged for water directly tied to the real cost of sourcing the water, there won't be enough companies in the field. Once people and farmers have to pay the full cost of water, they will seek to use innovation to reduce that cost and input. From that will come large water savings. As for the most exciting start-ups, I speak of several in my book. What specific area are you considering?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@harrystebbings If you like what you hear here, follow me on Twitter and tell your friends to do so, too. I tweet about water several times every day.
Alison Ehrlich Wachstein@alison_ehrlich_wachstein
@sethmsiegel What percentage of OK, TX and CA farms/communities are presently using drip irrigation and/or recycling sewage for agricultural purposes? And how can we increase those percentages throughout the US?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@alison_ehrlich_wachstein Without exact statistics at hand, let me be glib and say: Not enough! Nationally, we re-use treated wastewater at about the 7% level. Internationally less than 5% of all irrigated fields use drip irrigation. As to how to change all of this, we need to have government policy to help. Accelerated depreciation for equipment, grants to municipalities to construct wastewater treatment plants and pipes to convey it to fields, and we need micro loans for small farmers who now don't qualify for credit.
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@alison_ehrlich_wachstein If you like what you hear here, follow me on Twitter and tell your friends to do so, too. I tweet about water several times every day.
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@sethmsiegel Thanks for showing up for us. I lived and worked in Kenya for nine years and taught a course at NYU called "Powering Across the Digital Divide." One of our texts was Dambisa Moyo's _Dead Aid_. In the context of water politics in East Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia, the Blue Nile, dams etc.), who can lead the charge in capacity building and education while breaking the cycle of aid from developed to developing nations? And, importantly, how?!
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@mcgrawbridget This is a great question. It is my belief that this has to start with agriculture. And there is no better tool out of poverty than drip irrigation, even for smallholders.
Bridget McGraw@mcgrawbridget · Thingfully thing = physical + digital
@sethmsiegel Anything you would like to say about Flint, Michigan's water situation?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@mcgrawbridget Water problems almost never come from nowhere. I make the point in Let There Be Water that water problems are a proxy for bad governance. Sadly, that seems to be the case in Flint, too.
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@mcgrawbridget If you like what you hear here, follow me on Twitter and tell your friends to do so, too. I tweet about water several times every day.
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
Does there exist (for lack of a better term) "open source" drip irrigation technology available for engineering firms to incorporate into their other soil and water remediation programs / projects (for solutions engineering ) ? And if not, who (what companies or which engineers) are the best service providers for implementing and adapting drop irrigation technologies that an engineering firm could collaborate with on international projects both in the middle east and latin america ?
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@healthyhomeceo Yes and no. Some parts of the drip irrigation universe are off patent, but the drip irrigation companies work with very small profit margins. While there may be reason to buy generic product, why would you? Netafim and Jain (NaanDan) both offer excellent products at relatively low cost. Netafim also provides a lot of consulting services for its customers. (And to be sure not only am I donating all profits from the book to charity, but I have no commercial relationship with either Netafim, Jain or any other company in the industry or mentioned in the book.)
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
@sethmsiegel @healthyhomeceo Noted on Netafim and Jain! This is helpful! Thank you Seth!
Seth M. Siegel@sethmsiegel · Activist & Author of Let There Be Water
@healthyhomeceo If you like what you hear here, follow me on Twitter and tell your friends to do so, too. I tweet about water several times every day.
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
Third question: implementing water programs not only involves the technology but in some ways getting the public / private / municipal partnerships established can be just as tricky if not tricker. Are you aware of any public documents that can give insight into how some people codified the relationships, for the purpose of benchmarking for developing some drafts of the same.
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
@sethmsiegel Who comes to mind as the best large-scale program manager / engineer / bureaucrat / jack-of-all-trades leader in the world right now who has previously implemented / spearheaded / overseen long-range nationwide water remediation efforts?
Maraya Pearson@healthyhomeceo · Humanitarian and Active Empathizer
That you know of has anyone - any country / municipality, etc - structured the water service into something akin to a public community foundation ?
Onmubloger1@onmubloger1
Water needs to be saved most in countries where food needs to be . what do you suggest for countries wth far less resources than the western world?