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Ben-Gurion University professor awarded top prize for best article on Palestinian-Israeli watersheds

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, April, 22, 2011 -- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Prof. Alon Tal, Israel's leading environmental activist, has been awarded the top prize in the first annual International Journal of River Basin Management (JRBM) competition.

Prof. Tal and his co-authors from BGU's Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research were recognized for the article titled "Chemical and Biological Monitoring in Ephemeral and Intermittent Streams: A Study of Two Trans-boundary Palestinian-Israeli Watersheds." The article described the joint monitoring and restoration of the Besor and Alexander streams undertaken by the two groups.

Tal is an associate professor in BGU's Swiss Associates Institute for Dryland Environmental Research. He is the founder of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, a co-founder of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Israel's green environmental political party, of which he was recently elected co-chair.

"These trans-boundary watersheds really require coordination if we are going to restore them," Tal explains. "We sat down and tried to look at exactly what was in the water so we could clean it up. The main thing was, and I think that this is the happy news, when we got the data it was clear that we needed to work together to start solving our problems."

According to Prof. Paul Bates, editor-in- chief of JRBM of Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, UK, "In their paper, Tal and colleagues, institutes on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, came together in a spirit of cooperation to address a pressing regional environmental issue. When one also considers the trans-boundary nature of the problem and the highly complex local political context, it becomes clear what a singular achievement this work represents."

The prize was recently awarded in Vienna at the International Association of Hydraulic Engineering and Research Conference on "The Status and Future of the World's Large Rivers" by the association's president.


Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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