Sunday, August 23, 2015

Water shortage: Israel is a pioneer in the fight against drought – THE WORLD

almost 12,000 kilometers San Francisco from Tel Aviv – but as often as California’s drought in Israel comes to language, the US state might as well be next door. For years, absence of rain, drying rivers and lakes, falling groundwater levels, farmers, where the faucet is turned off, artificial grass instead of green lawn in the front gardens – all this there was a few years ago in Israel

a national campaign lent supermodel Bar Refaeli in 2008 her face, in the eyes of television viewers got their skin cracks and ever deeper furrows, until it finally crumbled to dust. “Israel dries out,” it said at the time.

Thanks to the latest technology, a wise management and decades of collective effort of an entire country’s water shortage in Israel today past, the country has assumed a global leadership role in many aspects of water management. How important is that, a glance at the OECD Environmental Outlook. The organization anticipates that some 1.8 billion people in 2025 in regions that are affected due to climate change, population growth, inefficient use of available resources or lack of investment and mismanagement of major water shortages. The Middle East is one of the problem regions

motto. “Manage every drop”

“After years of drought we had a huge supply gap in fresh water. The consumption was around 2.2 billion cubic meters of water per year, but there were from natural sources, only about 1.2 billion cubic meters available, “sketched Abraham Tenne, who until recently was head of seawater desalination was in the Israeli water authority, the situation for the wedding of the crisis of 2008.

Photo: IDE Technologies seawater desalination plant in Hadera. Five of the twelve largest plants of this type are in Israel

The amount of water in the Sea of ​​Galilee in the north of the country sank threatening the splashing Jordan as pathetic trickle away. It was pumped out more groundwater, as newly formed on natural trails. In order not to jeopardize the drinking water supply, water was rationed for agriculture. Children learned at school how you can capture shower water and reused. “We had not only fallen below the red danger line at the Sea of ​​Galilee, but found ourselves close to the black line, beyond which the environment threatened irreparable damage,” says Uri Shor, spokesman for the national water authority.

From the emergency situation, a master plan for the entire water management in the country was created, all skills that were previously spread across various ministries, in an independent institution, the” Water Authority “bundled. “Managing Every Drop” is the buzzword which the notoriously dry Israel describes the use of water.

70 percent of drinking water comes from the Mediterranean

The expansion of the drinking water production, the consistent recycling of waste water, the efficient use of the precious commodity in agriculture and industry, a more careful use by the population and the avoidance of water losses through leaking pipes are the key points this comprehensive strategy. The research around water has been intensified and the innovative minds of the start-up nation Israel romp in the meantime this sector from.

Photo: Getty Images hose systems with small holes cover today almost all fields and plantations. Here they irrigate young citrus plants

Conservation of water is already a matter of course in Israel, the annual per capita consumption of water is 180 cubic meters – in the US it is 1,630 cubic meters, almost ten times as high. “The key to the drinking water supply to the expansion of sea water desalination plants,” explains Abraham Tenne. In fact, currently submitted for more than 70 percent of drinking water in Israel from the Mediterranean.

vacuum disappears, the salt from seawater

The water is treated in giant desalination plants, is used the technology of reverse osmosis. This technology is at the heart of the water miracle. In most modern filtration systems that seawater is forced under high pressure through tubes that are equipped with thousands of plastic membranes. What remains highly concentrated salt water on one side – and drinking water on the other

five of the twelve largest plants of this type are in Israel.. Only the plant in Hadera, some 50 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, produces more than 500,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day, which supplies around one million people.

Up 2020, so the current planning, will come from desalination plants all the drinking water of Israel. The investment for this are immense, approximately 400 to 500 million US dollars would cost a desalination plant, says Abraham Tenne. Planning and construction take years. Are financed systems via complex partnerships between the state and private individuals.

Publicly subsidized but the water is not. The price of water, which is independent of the residence of the same for all citizens, will cover the cost. To save water stimulates a staggered tariff to, households that exceed a certain quota must pay a higher price.

The second pillar of Israel’s water strategy is the preparation and reuse of wastewater. Nationally, more than three quarters of all waste water is cleaned and used as a so-called gray water in agriculture for irrigation of orchards and fields, in Tel Aviv there are even 100 percent.

No other country in the world uses its wastewater nearly as intense, in second place is Spain with a rate of just 17 percent. Given the enormous demand for water in agriculture – around 70 percent of the fresh water is used worldwide for meat and plant production – see also the “World Water Development Report” of the UN in the preparation particularly great need for action

” gray water “for avocados

the treated water is ideal for Israel’s farmers, because unlike natural sources or rainwater the amount of wastewaters stable. So even orchards or example avocado groves may be planted, which must be supplied over years reliably with water. More than half of all the water used in agriculture is such a gray water passes through a nationwide pipeline system to the fields.

In Israel’s largest wastewater treatment plant Shafdan be collected the waste of approximately 2.5 million people and 7,000 companies in the populous region around Tel Aviv and treated. 130 million cubic meters of water are filtered every year in a complicated process and using purified by bacteria in bioreactors.

The water is then spread on large sandy fields, where it in is an approximately 400 days ending process percolates through the sand and cleaned naturally. Will it then be pumped back to the surface, it has nearly drinking water quality used, but it is only for the irrigation of parks, fields or orchards. The solids are filtered out of the wastewater, land dried and processed as fertilizer also in agriculture, and in the near future the plant is to meet their energy needs from arising in the sewage treatment process biogas.

Find detectors in Jerusalem for leaks

The third pillar of the national water program is the prevention of water losses. In Jerusalem as can be found anywhere in the city at a distance of a few hundred meters hydrants, where unobtrusive detectors are mounted. On the Via Dolorosa as well as churches, synagogues and mosques, compared with the remains of a Roman road as well as in the modern neighborhoods

Your task:. By acoustic monitoring detect water leaks in the pipes under the holy city. “In the early morning hours, when it is the quietest in the city, the highly sensitive devices using take the sounds true, which causes a line damage. Mobile broadband and GPS can also tiny leaks can be located precisely with only a few millimeters in diameter,” says Yair Zuk, Manager of startups Aquarius. In a city where everyone sod can conjure up a diplomatic disaster, no less advantage

Another plus:. Through innovations such as the Aquarius detector disappears into Jerusalem underground drinking water through leaking pipes less than in many other cities around the world, there are around ten per cent in the entire city, in some districts even only six percent. For comparison: In London still seeps even after extensive modernization measures a quarter of drinking water. In drought-stricken California cities

lose 10 to 30 percent of its already processed fresh water through leaks in the pipes.

campaigns to save water? No longer necessary

David Ben Gurion, the founding father of Israel, wanted to make the Negev desert blossoming landscapes – that this vision is a reality today, is an invention thanks to that in some kibbutzim originated from naked need some 50 years ago. The drip irrigation

hose systems with small holes cover today almost all fields and plantations Israel. Depending on requirements, the plants are being supplied by precisely the right amount of water. Meters monitor the soil moisture and adjust the computer-controlled water inflow. In this way the water consumption while increasing the income drops. In addition, can be placed over the hoses also targeted fertilizer to the plant.

“changes in water management take because of the elaborate infrastructure for a long time, but they are possible “, says Abraham Tenne. “50 years ago, Israel has begun with the drip irrigation system, 30 years ago with the systematic use of treated waste water and for about ten years always come new and more efficient desalination to” the expert outlines the essential steps of the country.

A television campaign with the Israelis should be called again to save water, the way was canceled this year – because it is no longer necessary. Of Californians can only dream of.

The participation in the trip was made possible by Israel Watec 2015. Our standards of transparency and journalistic independence, see


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