Middle East conflicts have baffled generations of world leaders, diplomats, and scholars. Yet, for Rotarian and RAGFP member Dr. Gerald Sussman the answer is obvious in a region where annual rainfall varies greatly and major aquifers face extreme pressure. It turns out water knows no cultural or religious affiliation and does not discriminate based upon any human values. Water always finds the path of least resistance so it can simply find a place to rest. These basic laws of physics provide the science of a Rotary Foundation global grant project called Hands Across Water that unites school children across the region in water conservation and environmental science education.

Rotarians in the Rotary Club of Coral Springs (Florida) and the Rotary Club of Lod (Israel), formed a collaboration and decided to utilize the principles of water conservation within schools as a means to promote social interaction between different ethnic and religious communities in Israel.

Hands Across Waters launched in the city of Lod and introduced a cutting-edge rainwater harvesting system. The unique science program quickly spread to nearby schools (three Arab Israeli/Palestinian and seven Jewish) and led to cross-cultural exchanges between the schools. It now promotes sustainability projects in over 20 schools uniting school children from all backgrounds in a common “culture” of water conservation.

Rainwater harvesting systems installed in participating schools create the focal points for educating students on a host of environmental science topics such as weather patterns, measuring rainfall amounts, water conservation, and lead to deeper critical thinking issues about how shared resources connect our entire planet.

Watch the Hands Across Waters Video