Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought

NYT israel water

At the peak of the drought, Israeli farmer and gardeners, feared for their livelihood.

A hefty tax was placed on excessive household water consumption, penalizing families with lawns, swimming pools or leaky pipes. Many people went over to synthetic grass and swapped their seasonal blooms for hardy, indigenous plants more suited to a semiarid climate..

But that was about six years ago. Today, there is plenty of water in Israel. A lighter version of an old “Israel is drying up” campaign has been dusted off to advertise baby diapers. The fear of drought has gone and people have gone back to planting flowers.

As California and other western areas of the United States grapple with an extreme drought, a revolution has taken place in Israel. A major national effort to desalinate Mediterranean seawater and to recycle wastewater has provided the country with enough water for all its needs, even during severe droughts. More than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households, agriculture and industry is now artificially produced.

Israel has also become the world leader in recycling and reusing wastewater for agriculture. It treats 86 percent of its domestic wastewater and recycles it for agricultural use — about 55 percent of the total water used for agriculture. Spain is second to Israel, recycling 17 percent of its effluent, while the United States recycles just 1 percent, according to Water Authority data.

To read the full article go to The New York Times page here

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