The Israel-California Water Link
12th March 2013
This core connection between California and the Middle East, particularly Israel, was one motivation for our trip. The other was the release of our recent paper on groundwater depletion in the Tigris-Euphrates-Western Iran region. It is a well-known fact that this entire region faces extreme challenges to manage their scarce water resources. Drought, increasing agricultural water demand, population pressures, and competing stakeholders add to an already stressed water system. Despite these challenges, this region is at the forefront of water management. The regional efforts to collaboratively manage surface water resources from the Jordan River and groundwater aquifers, for example by Friends of the Earth Middle East, as well as Israel’s strategies to maximize and efficiently use every last drop of water, are revolutionary.
In Israel, wastewater from urban areas is used to irrigate nearly 100% of crops in a desert while desalination accounts for 60% of water supply in densely populated regions. Pricing for water accurately reflects the costs to transport and produce the water, but these prices are affordable for all. Crops that can be grown with “poor quality” water, such as brackish or reclaimed wastewater, are cultivated while water-intensive agriculture and flood irrigation is rejected. Greenhouses and drip irrigation systems dominate the irrigation landscape. Clearly, the world, and including California, could learn a thing or two from Israel.
The Water Network
The recycling of grey water for irrigation is such a beautiful system. Water Rhapsody’s Garden Rhapsody is one of those systems where everyone and everything benefits.