Friday, June 5, 2015

Quenching California's Thirst. Lessons from Israel

Everyone is talking about the drought in California and wondering if our 4 years of  historic dryness are part of a larger future trend.  Emergency water restrictions are in place in many municipalities, with more on the way.

In an effort to quench California’s thirst, experts are looking across the ocean to tiny Israel, a country that is 60% desert.  After a seven-year drought beginning in  2005 depleted Israel’s main natural water sources — the Sea of Galilee and the mountain and coastal aquifers, Israel considered importing water from Turkey.   But now through a combination of conservation, recycling and innovation, Israel has temporarily solved its water issues.  Currently, the natural fresh water at Israel’s disposal in an average year does not cover its total use of roughly 525 billion gallons and over 50 percent of the water used in Israeli homes, agriculture and industry is artificially produced

Israel established a Water Authority  in 2007, which led the way to decrease demand and increase supply of this precious commodity.

A  tax was placed on excessive household water consumption, penalizing families with lawns, swimming pools and leaky pipes. Most families opted for water saving  

Israel has  become the world leader in reusing wastewater for agriculture and landscaping. It treats 86 percent of its domestic wastewater is treated and reused- about 55 percent of the total water used for agriculture. Spain is second to Israel, recycling 17 percent of its wastewater. The United States lags behind, with only 1 percent of its water reused.

Since 2005, Israel has built 5 desalination plants, with one-third of Israel's drinking-quality water now coming from desalination. By 2050, it is expected that 70% of Israel's drinking water will come from the sea.

For more information on what California can learn from water-thrifty Israel, see:
On June 11, a team of experts will be meeting in Sacramento to discuss what steps we can take to avert a water crisis, and what lessons we can learn from Israel's experiences.

And of course, there will be a protest, organized and promoted by Jewish Voice for Peace and other assorted haters.   Israel haters would rather succumb to thirst than take anything- even information- from Israel.

Water Libel

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