BGU | Water Summit

The Summit

This upcoming summit will cover three main topics related to water security in a changing world:

Desalination, water treatment,
hydrology and aquatic microbiology

The conference will address applied and fundamental questions related to the nexus of water, humanity, and the environment. Invited talks by renowned speakers will discuss cutting-edge research, related challenges, and future directions as well as implications for policy makers. The summit will also include round table discussions with active participation of the audience.
Researchers that would like to share their studies can submit an abstract for an exclusive poster session.

Organizing Committee: Prof. Noam Weisbrod (BIDR Director, BGU, Israel), Prof. Amit Gross (ZIWR Director, BIDR, BGU, Israel), Prof. Edo Bar-Zeev (ZIWR, BIDR, BGU, Israel), Prof. Menachem Elimelech (Yale University, USA)

Invited Speakers


First Day, 22nd of May
Second Day, 23rd of May

08:00 – 10:00

10:00 – 10:30

10:30 – 12:00


12:00 – 13:00


13:00 – 14:30

14:30 – 15:30

15:30 – 16:45


Opening Ceremony
Mr. Isaac Herzog - President of the State of Israel
Prof. Alon Tal – Member of the Knesset
Prof. Raz Jelinek – Vice President & Dean R&D, BGU
Prof. Noam Weisbrod - BIDR Director
Prof. Amit Gross – ZIWR Director
Session A: New perspectives in hydrology - Abstract ↓
Prof. John Selker - A critical role of trans-generational teams in advancing hydrological measurements.
Prof. Efrat Morin - Floods in a warming climate: what are the missing puzzle pieces?
Prof. Petra Doell - Global-scale quantification of drought hazards
Session B: Frontiers in applied and aquatic microbiology - Abstract ↓
Prof. Joan Rose - From Polio to COVID: environmental virology at its best
Prof. Lisa, Alvarez Cohen - Biology of emerging contaminants, do they really eventually emerge?
Prof. Damia Barcelo – Macro and micro-plastic litter and increased COVID-19 based plastic pollution in the aquatic environment and landfills: treatment, environmental risks and policy solutions
Round table
Dr. Eddie Cytryn, Dr. Karen Villholth
Poster session and coffee break
Gala Dinner and the Zuckerberg Water Prize ceremony
Second Day, 23rd of May

09:00 – 11:00

11:00 – 11:30

11:30 – 12:30

12:30 – 14:00

14:00 – 15:30

15:30 – 16:45

16:45 – 17:00

Session C: Desalination: old concepts, new horizons - Abstract ↓
Prof. Jack Gilron: The Evolution of Modern Membrane Desalination
Prof. Menachem Elimelech: Next-Generation Desalination and Water Purification Membranes: Where Are We Now?
Prof. Ori Lahav: Resource recovery from seawater: emphasis on selective separation of Mg(II) salts
Prof. Yoram Cohen: Autonomous Optimal Operation of Distributed Membrane-Based Water Treatment and Desalination Systems
Coffee break
Session D: Water treatment and sanitation - Abstract ↓
Mr. Seth Siegel: Israel, Water, and the World: How a Small, Dry Country Serves as an Inspiration to Nations around the Globe
Prof. Pedro Alvarez: A Renaissance for Phage-Based Bacterial Control
Lunch and Poster Session
Session D: Water treatment and sanitation - Continuation
Prof. Jacob Moran-Gilad - Risk assessment and mitigation of legionellosis powered by genomics
Prof. Eberhard Morgenroth - Opportunities for greywater reuse at different scales
Prof. Janet Hering - Overcoming the barriers to achieving the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Round Table
Prof. Sharon Walker
Closing remarks

08:00 -10:00

10:00 – 10:30

10:30 – 13:45

14:45 – 18:00


Opening Ceremony
Session A: Frontiers in applied
and aquatic microbiology
Session B: New
perspectives in hydrology
Gala Dinner


The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research Ben-Gurion College

Accommodation Nearby

Abstract Submission
For Poster Presentation

Contact Us

Ella Nicolaevsky

Special Projects Officer, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR)

International Water Summit coordinator


Contact Us

Ella Nicolaevsky

Special Projects Officer, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR)

International Water Summit coordinator


[email protected]


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Water Summit 2022
Registration Form

Participation in the conference is paid. Please, see the participation fees on the payment page.
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Prof. Janet Hering

[email protected]

Affiliation: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ)

Topic: Overcoming the barriers to achieving the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Fields of research: Knowledge exchange at the interface of science with policy and practice Biogeochemical cycling of trace metals and metalloids: microbial redox cycling; field studies of metal redox cycling, mobilization, and sequestration Water treatment processes for removal of inorganic contaminants: role of sorption in contaminant removal; design of novel sorbents Mineral weathering and reactions at mineral surfaces: mechanisms and kinetics of dissolution and precipitation reactions; macroscopic, spectroscopic, and modeling studies of sorption processes

Prof. Damia Barcelo

[email protected]

Affiliation: Prof. Damia Barcelo Professor at Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain and at Catalan Institute for Water research, ICRA-CERCA, Spain

Topic: The objective of Prof. Barcelo’s scientific career has been to solve different environmental problems in the field of water quality by the development of new analytical methods in addition to fate, risk and remediation studies for emerging pollutants such as polar pesticides, surfactants, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs and carbon-based nanomaterials (fullerenes), microplastics and more recently large molecules such as protein biomarkers. This research falls within the field of Environmental Chemistry. The area of environmental analysis has identified three major problem areas: (i) the need of the trace determination of environmental pollutants; (ii) to study the fate and risk of pollutants in complex environmental matrixes , (iii) sewage epidemiology as way to identify indicators of population health and (iv) to conduct remediation studies on the removal of these emerging contaminants

website:, twitter:@Damia_Barcelo

Prof. Yoram Cohen

[email protected]

Affiliation: Distinguished Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and Institute of the Environment and sustainability Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Topic: Autonomous Optimal Operation of Distributed Membrane-Based Water Treatment and Desalination Systems

Yoram Cohen is a UCLA Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a faculty member at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (1981-present). He is Director of UCLA's Water Technology Research (WaTeR) and Adjunct Faculty at Ben-Gurion University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and received the Clarence Gerhold Award (2019) and Lawrence K. Cecil Award (2003) from the AIChE Separations and Environmental Divisions, respectively.  Dr. Cohen is a recognized expert in water purification and desalination, membrane separation processes, and environmental impact assessment. His research has focuses on the development and deployment of advanced flexible, self-adaptive, and energy optimal high recovery water treatment and desalination systems, new membranes and monitoring technology for membrane fouling, surface mineral crystallization, mitigation of membrane scaling and fouling, and the development of machine learning and AI approaches for decision support and process automation. He is also engaged in environmental protection efforts to promote water reuse, develop clean drinking water supplies for disadvantaged communities, and reduce risks from exposure to chemical contaminants.

Prof. Pedro J.J. Alvarez

[email protected] Affiliation: George R. Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University, USA Topic: TBA

Field of research: Environmental implications and applications of nanotechnology, bioremediation, fate and transport of toxic chemicals, water footprint of biofuels, water treatment and reuse, and antibiotic resistance control.

Prof. Menachem Elimelech

[email protected]

Affiliation: Sterling Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, USA

Topic: TBA

Field of research:
Membrane-based processes for energy-efficient desalination and wastewater reuse; sustainable production of water and energy generation with engineered osmosis; environmental applications and implications of nanomaterials; water and sanitation in developing countries.

Prof. John Selker

[email protected]

Affiliation: Department of Biological & Ecological Engineering, Oregon State University, Distinguished Professor, USA

Topic: A critical role of trans-generational teams in advancing hydrological measurements.

Fields of research: Dr. Selker is interested in advancing methods of measuring water resource stores and fluxes. He is co-Director of both The Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs ( and the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (, and PI of the Openly Published Environmental Sensing Laboratory (currently employing 40 undergraduates - Selker has worked in more than 20 countries across 5 continents. Focus areas include environmental instrumentation, groundwater processes, and ecohydrology.

Prof. Eberhard Morgenroth

[email protected]

Affiliation: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), Switzerland

Topic: Opportunities for greywater reuse at different scales

Field of research: wastewater treatment, membrane bioreactors for water reuse, control of biofilms, biofilm reactors, biological drinking water treatment, decentralized wastewater treatment, and energy recovery from wastewater and organic residuals

Prof. Joan B. Rose

[email protected]

Affiliation: Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research Michigan State University, USA

Topic: From Polio to COVID: Environmental Virology at its Best

Joan B. Rose holds the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2011) and the winner of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize. She is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety. She has published more than 300 manuscripts. She led the International Water Associations (IWA) Task Force on COVID19 in 2020. She is also in charge of the Global Water Pathogens Project She was a member of the IWA Board of Directors (2016-2020). Dr. Rose earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Arizona, Tucson and masters from the University of Wyoming. She is currently collaborating with the State of Michigan on the State-wide program on Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19.

Prof. Petra Doell

Affiliation: Professor of Hydrology at Institute of Physical Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Topic: Global-scale quantification of drought hazards

Fields of research:
- global water modeling
- methods for transdisciplinary knowledge integration and participatory processes. The first research focus aims at quantifying water resources and human water use under the impact of global (climate) change for all land areas of the globe. We are continuously improving our global hydrological model WaterGAP and strive to develop meaningful indicators for problems such as water scarcity, drought or alteration of freshwater biota habitat. In the second research focus, we investigate how the diverse knowledge of multi-disciplinary scientists and multi-sectoral stakeholders can be optimally integrated to identify sustainable risk management strategies in problems fields such as water scarcity and pollution, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change.

Mr. Seth Siegel

[email protected]

Affiliation: Senior Fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Water Policy, USA

Topic: TBA

Prof. Lisa Alvarez-Cohen

[email protected]

Affiliation: Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Fred and Claire Sauer Professor of Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley, USA

Topic: TBA Field of research: Environmental microbiology and ecology, biotransformation and fate of environmental and wastewater contaminants, and innovative molecular and isotopic techniques for studying microbial ecology of communities involved in wastewater treatment and bioremediation communities.

Jacob Moran-Gilad

[email protected]

Affiliation: MD MPH FESCMID, Clinical Microbiology, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Chief Microbiology Consultant, Soroka University Medical Centre; ECCMID Programme Director @ESCMID

Topic: Jacob Moran-Gilad is a Physician board-certified in Clinical Microbiology and in Public Health and Principal Investigator of the Microbiology, Advanced Genomics and Infection Control Applications Laboratory (MAGICAL group - at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel. He is the Director of Clinical Microbiology at the Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem and Consultant Microbiologist at Soroka University Medical Center, Israel. His research interests include harnessing new diagnostic technologies such as genomics and metagenomics to inform patient management and public health policy. Prof. Moran-Gilad led the development of the genomic typing scheme for Legionella and made several important contributions to this field as a member of ESGLI. He is the Chair of the National Advisory Committee for Microbiology and Member of the Epidemic Management Team, Ministry of Health, Israel, former Chairperson of the ESCMID Study Group for Genomic and Molecular Diagnostics (ESGMD), Associate Editor at Euro surveillance and the Programme Director for the European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), the world's premier conference in the field of infection.

Prof. Efrat Morin

[email protected]

Affiliation: Professor at the Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Topic: Interactions of meteorological and hydrological systems, floods, precipitation space-time patterns, climate variability and climate change impact on the environment, extreme events.

Prof. Jack Gilron

[email protected]

Affiliation: Professor at Desalination and Water Treatment Department, The Zuckerberg institute for Water Research, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Topic: Prof. Gilron’s professional activity has been associated with finding new opportunities for introducing membrane technology to achieve water and product recovery from waste-streams and in increasing the recovery in desalination processes. He has worked on waste-streams from specialty chemicals industry, olive mill wastewater, and hypersaline brines for mineral production, among other systems. High recovery desalination and brine management are other areas of activity as well as electromembrane processes for contaminant removal and upgrading of groundwater for irrigation.

Prof. Sharon Walker

[email protected]

Affiliation: Dean of the College of Engineering; Distinguished Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering; Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science; Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Drexel University

Topic: Prof. Walker is a scholar in the area of particle fate and transport in aquatic environments. Throughout her career she has worked with bacterial pathogens and engineered nanomaterials, investigating the fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes that control their fate in natural surface and groundwater environments, as well as engineered systems including water (coagulation, granular filtration, membrane separation) and wastewater (septic system) processes. More recently, Sharon has also applied these skills towards agricultural and food safety issues including pathogen interactions with leafy greens and food handling equipment, as well as pathogen-insect vector systems.

Prof. Ori Lahav

[email protected]

Affiliation: Head of Environment Water and Agriculture Division, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion, Israel

Topic: Aquatic chemistry, Physico-chemical water treatment processes, Resource recovery, Aquacultural Engineering.

Prof. Eddie Cytryn

[email protected]

Affiliation: Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences Volcani Institute, Israel

Topic: Dr. Cytryn's research centers on various aspects of environmental microbiology and microbial ecology. He is especially interested in environmental and agricultural dimensions of antimicrobial resistance and plant-microbe interactions.

Dr. Karen G. Villholth

[email protected] / [email protected]

Affiliation: Principal Researcher with IWMI (International Water Management Institute) - Southern Africa, and Coordinator of the groundwater portfolio

Topics: transboundary aquifers, groundwater and food security, groundwater resources assessment and modelling, climate change and groundwater, groundwater-dependent ecosystems and groundwater-based natural infrastructure, and groundwater protection, management and governance

Arriving by public transport

From Tel Aviv to Beer Sheva

By Bus

Express lines to Beer Sheva from Tel-Aviv are operated by the Metropoline Bus Company.


Bus 370 depart from Tel Aviv
Central Bus station
Timetable →


Bus 380 depart from Tel Aviv
2000 Terminal respectively
Timetable →

By Train

The trains departs from any station in Tel Aviv to Beer Sheva main station. An express train to Beer Sheva would often be significantly faster.

The train station is 200 meters off the Beer Sheva Bus station.

Israel Railways website →

From Ben-Gurion Airport to
Beer Sheva Train

By Train

Catch the train from Ben Gurion Airport and change train to the Ha’Hagana Station, Tel Aviv.

Switch that Train to Beer Sheva main train station.

The Train departs from Ben-Gurion Airport at every half an hour.

Israel Railways website →

From Jerusalem to Beer Sheva

By Bus

Express line to Beer Sheva is operated by the Eged Bus Company.


The Bus 470 depats from Jerusalem
Central Bus Station every half an hour
Timetable →

From Beer Sheva to the conference at ZIWR

By Bus

Bus service from Beer Sheva to Midreshet Ben-Gurion, ZIWR is operated by the Metropoline Bus Company.


Bus 60 is very convenient and comes up to the
main gate of Midreshet Ben-Gurion
Timetable →


Bus 64 is very convenient and comes up to the
main gate of Midreshet Ben-Gurion
Timetable →

Special note:

Do not get off at Kibbutz Sede Boqer, instead, ask to get off at “THE MIDRASHA”.


You may also take the 65
Timetable →

You may also take the 65 Timetable you will need to get off the bus at the intersection, adding a 12 minutes walk to get to the main gate of the Midrasha.

From the bus stop, walk through the Yellow gates, continuing straight to a “T” junction and turn left into the BIDR, BGU campus.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev​

The fastest growing research university in Israel.
With 20,000 students, 4,000 staff and faculty members, and three campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat, BGU is an agent of change, fulfilling the vision of David Ben-Gurion, who envisaged the future of Israel emerging from the Negev. Today, BGU’s mission continues to be effecting change, locally, regionally and internationally. With five faculties and several world-renown research institutes, BGU is a recognized national and global leader in many fields, actively encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations with government and industry, and nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in all its forms.

The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

The BIDR were established in 1974 and are composed of three institutes: The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands and the Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research. The BIDR mission is to combat desertification and face global challenges by bringing together water, food, energy, and environmental research. Today, the BIDR is a global leader in research on desertification and sustainable development of the drylands. BIDR researchers and students focus on new and alternative ways to meet global challenges related to food security, water scarcity, clean energy and more. To address these challenges, researchers help to harness dryland ecosystems around the world for human habitation and survival with innovative science and cutting-edge technology. The knowledge gained here is hared worldwide, where the rapid expansion of drylands, water scarcity, food security problems, and energy crises are affecting the lives of billions of people living in more than 100 countries.

The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research

The ZIWR was founded in January 2002 within the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, at the Sede Boqer Campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. ZIWR scientists use experimental and theoretical approaches to conduct fundamental water related research to understand wide-ranging phenomena. Our broad-based research encompasses nanoscience and pore scale phenomena, and extends to pilot projects and field studies. Our interdisciplinary team includes hydrologists, soil scientists, geologists, chemists, microbiologists, and engineers. The result is a unique scientific environment facilitating the investigation of environmental challenges and the development of engineering solutions for water-related problems. Young and dynamic, the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research is open to change, and research topics are “fine-tuned” to remain responsive to constantly evolving needs and challenges. The ZIWR vision is to be a leading international multidisciplinary institute studying water in the anthropogenic and natural spheres, and a national center of expertise and training in water issues. In its research and education activities, the ZIWR will identify current and emerging fundamental and applied challenges in water-related developments, rehabilitation, and stewardship.