Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (pictured above left) visited BGU earlier this week to participate in the signing of a research Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BGU'S Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and the Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge.
The MOU calls for the two institutes to collaborate on research and development projects related to integrated water resource research and applied science, and to collaborate on decisions related to water management issues. This will include exchanging research staff and students, as well as conducting joint research and academic meetings.
"This agreement is an important vote of confidence for Israeli science in general and specifically for BGU's scientific and technological prowess on the international stage. We are honored that Governor Edwards personally participated in the signing ceremony," said Prof. Noam Weisbrod (above third from left), Director of BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR).
"Israel's arid climate and worldwide water shortages force us to think creatively about water use and conservation. Our high motivation and dynamic nature will result in a winning collaboration to creatively tackle water-related challenges and solve problems," says Weisbrod.
Governor Edwards added that he expects the five-year agreement to lay the groundwork for advanced bilateral projects focusing on issues including ecological and stream restoration, transboundary water resource research, water/groundwater modelling, policy and planning for sustainable management of water resources, agricultural efficiency, improved water quality, advancing water resource technology, and more.
"The spirit of our mission to Israel is to join two peoples and two cultures in a way that brings lasting benefit to both our lands, Edwards said. "The Negev, the vast desert of southern Israel and home to the Zuckerberg Institute, is a striking contrast to the Mississippi River and coastal Louisiana, where The Water Institute of the Gulf is based. But the reality is both of these institutes conduct water management research all over the world, and both can bring their scientists and research together to solve our greatest water-related challenges."
According to Justin R. Ehrenwerth, president and chief executive officer of The Water Institute of the Gulf, "After suffering widespread damage caused by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005, Louisiana businesses and public officials understood we needed to act in order to protect residents and preserve the state's natural resources. "Our future generations depend on finding and developing the best possible science. And BGU has done a lot of that. You've made the desert bloom. You've taught the world that water challenges can be solved."
Above: Governor Edwards tours the Marcus Family Campus