Ornit Avidar profile picture

Ornit Avidar

IIASA-Israel Program Postdoctoral Fellow

Water Security Research Group

Biodiversity and Natural Resources


Ornit Avidar is a post-doctoral researcher in the Water Security Research Group of the IIASA Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program. She was born in Israel and has over 20 years of extensive international work experience as a diplomat, investor, and mediator. In 2010, she founded Waterways Solutions, a company that dealt with water solutions for rural areas on the African continent. Her work at the company forms the practical foundation of her doctoral dissertation and continuing research.

Avidar has been dedicating all her time to support the vision of 'Water for all' in our lifetime, especially in developing countries. The theory argues that 'Water for all' can be achieved by adopting a twofold approach:

The first of these is a commitment to enabling sustainable water projects. Her doctoral dissertation titled 'A Regional Analysis of Sustainable Access to Clean Water in Siaya County, Kenya', was written under the supervision of Prof. Lynn Schler, at the Tamar Golan Africa Centre of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The work is motivated by the question of how it can be that 785 million people do not have access to clean water in this day and age. The dissertation explores the issues around the lack of sustainability in drinking water projects through a close examination and comparison of four water schemes, in Siaya county in Kenya. The research expands the dimensions of sustainability of clean water projects. Building on systems theory, her work demonstrates the complexity of sustainability, and that sustainability can only be locally based, due to its many interconnected elements. Through a new evaluation and planning tool developed over the course of her research - the Holistic Integrated Approach (HIA) for evaluating the sustainability of drinking water projects - the underlying factors of project sustainability and the feedback loops that sustain the situation are exposed.

The second approach is the theory of 'Water first', which is the focus of her post-doctoral work at IIASA. The work reiterates the importance of water in international development policy towards prioritizing water in international development programs and funding as a catalyst for the rest of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

She is married to Eli Avidar and they have three inspiring children.

Last update: 16 MAR 2022