Network for the Environment and Social (Human) Security

Wasting Water in the Holy Land

Posted by on May 5, 2010 in Water | 8 comments

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This article was planned for a long time. It was supposed to be series of articles about water waste in Israel. Last week I traveled through the land and took some pictures. I had troubles of finding the right intro to the article. But yesterday I started the series with the article about wasting the condensed water of air conditioners. A reader by the name of Mike posted a comment and gave me the right intro.

Water is such a scarce commodity that it becomes highly political. It might even become a reason for Wars.

In the conflict between Israel and Palestine water is a very crucial part. Especially since, according to the human rights organization B’tselem, the per-capita consumption of water of an Israeli is about 240 liters a day. In Germany it is about 120 liters a day, while the Palestinian has only about 60 liters a day.

The situation of the Sea of Galilee as the main resource of drinking water is critical. The level of the sea is about 5 meters below normal.

As a solution the Israeli government has decided to desalinate water from the Mediterranean Sea by means of Reverse Osmosis.

A technology which demands a lot of energy and that means it will be expensive for the consumers. Also it is not clear whether the Palestinians will get a fair share of this water. And this might become a highly volatile political conflict!

Landing Pier in the Sea of Galilee

Most of the energy is wasted because the Israelis will not stop wasting water!

The pictures clearly show how water is wasted senselessly in Israel.

Wasting Water while Irrigating English Meadow

The Picture on the right was taken in Tiberias and show how low the level of the Sea of Galilee is. The picture on the left shows a round about in Bet She’an, which is planted with a English meadow. In an arid country such as Israel? The meadow needs a lot of water and still water is running down the street.

In Safed

Below is a picture taken in the old city of Safed. The cistern was built 275 years ago. The ground floor is about 4X4 meters and the cistern is about 9 meters deep.

All in all volume is about 144 cubic meters. The did it in the past and we can’t do it today? Perhaps because it is old fashioned.

But it is still effective!

Top view of the cistern

By the Dead Sea, which is also in a miserable state, the showers on the beach use Grey Water for the bathing people. The water is collected somewhere in the nearby mountains and need a powerful pumping station to move the water.

Pumping Station

With the Idea of Nesseq how to reuse water by means of Solar Energy less energy would be needed and less damage would be inflicted to nature. Also the used water would flow back into the sea, so the circuit of the water is minimized.

Back in Tel Aviv on the beach I rediscovered a pipe, which for years lead water into the Mediterranean Sea. I used to call the municipality a couple of times and asked them where the water comes from? I never got a satisfactory answer. Still the water could be put into the sewage for treatment and from there on could be used for agriculture.

Water into Sea

The last picture shows a poster on a advertisement pillar asking the public to save water. The text means: Every person needs 55 liter daily for showering. Install water saving devices!

This is the usual, shoving the responsibility to the individual as though the government and the municipalities have nothing to do with the waste of water!

That this is not so can be seen by the pictures in this article.

Advertisment for Saving Water

One more point.

In Israel it is usual to use plastic pipes for irrigation.

The suggestion of Nesseq is to have two colors for the pipes. So the gardeners will know which pipe leads water and which is not. As it is, two water leading pipes are stuck together, the water tap is opened and the gardener have done their job and seem to go drink a coffee or something else. Anyway the two pipes are getting, because of the pressure, disconnected and the water flows anywhere but to the plants.

To be continued in the future.

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