Israel is sharing, not stealing, water. It is giving its own water to Palestinians in significantly greater quantities than it agreed to do under the Oslo Accords (40 percent more in 2008). Nor does Israel use west bank water. It uses the same water sources today that it used prior to 1967, and settlements are connected to Israel’s national water system. Furthermore, Israel helped Palestinians modernize the west bank’s water system between 1967 and 1995, helping triple the fresh water available (66 mcm per year to 180 mcm per year), and the number of towns connected to running water rose by over 7,600 percent (four to 309). Today, water usage and planning are regulated by Palestinians and Israelis together in the joint water commission. Israel is at the forefront of innovations in water sustainability and is a leader in seeking comprehensive, regional solutions to managing this vital but sparse resource.
(from Stand With Us)
Veteran Israeli Diplomat Ornit Avidar, Founder and Director of Waterways
WaterWays is a water consultancy firm providing an array of services related to water challenge identification, monitoring, treatment, conservation and solutions provision to off grid and remote areas.
WaterWays was founded in light of the growing need for clean water supply and treatment to off grid and remote areas.
WaterWays, operates in two main areas: “Village” Projects – solutions for Remote and Off Grid areas and Conservation & water reuse projects.
The latest water-tech idea out of Israel is a solar device that provides clear drinking water with no need for infrastructure or electricity.
SunDwater offers sun power to purify polluted water
Abigail Klein Leichman
April 16, 2013
Sunlight is concentrated on the SunDwater dish so it doesn’t need a large footprint.
Thousands of years ago, sailors would spread seawater in flat beds aboard ship to let the sun evaporate it to separate out the salt. The same principle is behind a modern Israeli technology that relies on sun power to distill clean water for drinking and agriculture.
“About 97 percent of the world’s water is saltwater or polluted water,” says Shimmy Zimels, CEO of Jerusalem-based SunDwater. That is why some 750 million people in 45 countries need to drill expensive wells, buy bottled water or even use contaminated water despite the huge health risks.
SunDwater’s solar-powered distiller, about to hit the market, is targeted at these populations — particularly in Africa, South America and parts of Asia. It’s a “green,” low-cost, low-maintenance system that converts dirty or salty water into potable water without any need for infrastructure or an external energy source.
The water is pumped into the unit, which is outfitted with a four-square-meter (43-square-foot) round photovoltaic dish that concentrates the sunbeams for fast evaporation. The water vapor flows into a cylinder where it gets condensed back into freshwater.
The device was invented by Zimels’ childhood friend, product developer Shimon Ben-Dor, during the Israeli drought of 2009. A pre-market operational unit, set up in a sunny industrial park not far from the Dead Sea, produces 400 liters of clean water per day — five times the rate of similar systems. Several units could be linked to create a water farm, and a much larger version also is planned.
“This concept took several directions before Shimon decided to try getting heated water to evaporate and go back to its original molecular structure, which is what happens when it rains and the water evaporates up to the clouds,” Zimels tells ISRAEL21c. “His concept was to replicate what nature does.”
New water is constantly pumped back into the closed system as the water evaporates, Zimels adds. “There is no need for electricity. We are just using nature to improve nature itself, not creating new environmental problems.”
While in Israel the chronic shortage of freshwater has mostly been addressed with desalination plants, this expensive solution is not practical for larger countries with spread-out populations.
Accordingly, customers in India, Madagascar, Nigeria and other African countries have expressed interest in the product. SunDwater is working with WaterWays, an Israeli water consultancy for rural regions, to get the technology to areas of need in the most efficient manner.
“We believe in the long run the unit could be manufactured in the country where it will be installed, offering an added financial advantage to those countries,” says Zimels. SunDwater would provide installation and training for local operators.
“Now we need capital to start building the whole supply chain, to train the communities in need how to operate the unit and to continue the development and improvement of our solution.”
Israeli Company Helps Address World’s Water Crisis
United with Israel
Access to fresh clean drinking water is one of the world’s greatest environmental issues. The United Nations claims that 1.2 billion people, who consist of one fifth of the world population, live in areas of clean water scarcity. “About 97 percent of the world’s water is saltwater or polluted water,” says Shimmy Zimels, CEO of Jerusalem-based SunDwater. This situation forces many countries to drill expensive wells, buy bottled water, or even use contaminated water despite the health risks associated with drinking unclean water. Indeed, most of the people suffering from acute shortages in clean drinking water live in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
This horrible environmental situation adversely affects not only the environment and human health, but also world security. Former UN Security General Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali once declared, “The next war in the middle east will be over water, not politics.” Indeed, water crises’ have fueled conflicts from the Indian subcontinent to the Middle East to Africa. For example, water is one of the areas of conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
Water has also exasperated tensions between Pakistanis and Indians, and the Syria conflict has been adversely affected by the water crisis existing within the country. In addition, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, “The crisis in Darfur stems in part from disputes over water: The conflict that led to the crisis arose from tensions between nomadic farming groups who were competing for water and grazing land—both increasingly scarce due to the expanding Sahara Desert.”
Thus, SunDwater’s solar power distiller, which offers developing countries an environmentally-friendly way to convert unclean water into drinkable water, is of such pivotal importance. The device was invented during an Israeli drought in 2009 by Shimon Ben Dor and it allows for unclean water to be placed on a photovoltaic dish that transforms it into clean drinking water.
According to Zimels, “This concept took several directions before Shimon decided to try getting heated water to evaporate and go back to its original molecular structure, which is what happens when it rains and the water evaporates up to the clouds. His concept was to replicate what nature does. There is no need for electricity. We are just using nature to improve nature itself, not creating new environmental problems.”
According to SunDwater, “The system is unique in the sense that it is environmentally friendly thus resolving one global problem without creating another and relatively inexpensive demonstrating an efficient production rate. The developed unit is a perfect “green” solution for urban, rural and remote target communities for basic fresh water needs. Taking in account that a vast majority of the communities in need reside in developing countries, our focus through the development process was to deliver a smart however very simple to operate and relatively cheap solution to assure the above mentioned populations are able to purchase and operate the units on their own.” So far, India, Madagascar, Nigeria and other African countries have expressed interest in SunDwater’s solar power distiller. However, the device has the potential to help many other countries as well.
India Seeks Water Management Lessons From Israel
New York Times
June 12, 2013
TEL AVIV – As Indian municipal officials and water engineers search for ways to provide cleaner water to their nation’s 1.2 billion people, they are increasingly turning to Israel, which has solved many of the same problems that India is now experiencing.
Last week, a delegation of 16 high-ranking Indian officials of the water authorities of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa and Haryana arrived in Israel for a seven-day visit. They visited wastewater treatment plants, met with some of Israel’s leading environmentalists and agronomists and listened to explanations of some of the newest technologies that keep this desert country green.
“In India, we have a major crisis of water,” said Rajeev Jain, an assistant engineer in the water department of Rajasthan. “Our problem is the same that Israel faced,” he said, noting that Rajasthan, home to 63 million people, has a similar climate and groundwater resources that are meager at best.
“But Israel is an expert at successfully implementing technologies that we aren’t able to implement. So we have come here to understand which technologies they use and how they manage these things.”
Amnon Ofen, director of NaanDanJain, right, presenting a memento to Sarban Singh, one of the Indian delegates.Courtesy of Debra Kamin Amnon Ofen, director of NaanDanJain, right, presenting a memento to Sarban Singh, one of the Indian delegates.
The visit was jointly arranged by the governments of India and Israel and managed by the Weitz Center for Development Studies and Israel NewTech, the national sustainable water and energy program of Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.
Israel has been a global leader in the fields of drip irrigation and desalination, two ventures for which it has contributed groundbreaking technology. These technologies helped the country of eight million pull itself out of a severe water crisis in the early 2000s.
While Israel’s primary investments in India remain in the realm of diamonds and information technology, more and more shekels are being invested in Indian water systems.
The two countries began working with each other on water technology in the late 1990s. In 2006, Israeli and Indian ministers of agriculture signed a long-term cooperation and training deal, which has since been supervised by field experts from Mashav, an international development program of Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Next came a $50 million shared agriculture fund between both nations, focusing on dairy, farming technology and micro-irrigation. And Netafim, the Israeli company that pioneered drip irrigation, has created new technologies in Jharkhand specifically calibrated for the small family farms scattered across India.
In 2011, India and Israel signed an agreement to foster cooperation on urban water systems, which came after more than a decade of joint research, development and shared investment in the countries’ respective water technologies.
Israeli officials and green technology specialists saw last week’s visit as a preview to the influx of Indian officials they expect in October for the country’s annual conference on water technology and environmental control.
Oded Distel, director of NewTech, said the most significant lesson Israel can teach India is the Middle Eastern country’s unique approach. “It’s a system that balances the demand and available resources among the various sectors: municipal, industrial and agricultural,” he said.
Several delegates said they were shocked to learn how expensive water is in Israel and how all citizens, regardless of income or geographic region, must pay uniform tariffs and fees for the clean drinking water that flows into their taps.
It would be nearly impossible to adopt a similar model in India, Mr. Jain said. In India, much of the water generated by cities is illegally siphoned off by residents or lost to leaks, and in rural areas, most farmers get their water at no cost.
“In India, they consider water a gift from God. And everything God has given, no one can charge for it,” he said. “It is not easy to frame new policies, because we have to go to our assembly and Parliament first.”
But he said he was optimistic that some of the Israeli techniques for salvaging wastewater could be transferred to his home region. “In India, there are a lot of unauthorized connections to the water system, so maybe we can learn how to control the wastewater out of these connections,” he said.
On June 5, the group traveled to Kibbutz Naan, a cooperative community that is the largest in Israel, to see the manufacturing operations for NaanDanJain Irrigation, the world’s foremost irrigation solutions company. It is also a joint venture of Kibbutz Naan, another Israeli kibbutz called Kibbutz Dan and Jain Irrigations Systems of India.
Over a vegetarian lunch in the kibbutz cafeteria, where the tables were festooned with the flags of India and Israel, Sarban Singh, an Indian delegate from Haryana, said that last year he visited Singapore to learn about water technology and that he and his colleagues were also closely following innovations in Japan and Germany.
The water sector in Israel, he said, was nevertheless the most important to him and other Indian officials.
“This is what we feel,” he said. “The way they are able to take care of these two areas, drinking water and treatment of wastewater — they are soldiers and pioneers.”
For Mr. Singh, the most eye-opening technology that he saw during his time in Israel involved optimizing systems so that water can be provided at all times, which requires clean and secure reservoirs; tracking the liquid’s distribution into homes; and adding state-of-the-art water sensors on piping systems to pinpoint exactly where the precious resource is being lost.
Mr. Singh was quick to add, however, that between inspiration and implementation, many hurdles would present themselves in India.
“They are doing this on a very small scale, while we are doing it on a very large scale,” he said. “So even if we have the technology, we may not be as successful as they are. We welcome the technology, but before we can implement it, we have to see how much the manufacturing will cost and how much it benefits us at home.”
SmarTap wins Eco-innovation award
Water shortage is recognized as a growing problem for the 21st century.
As populations grow and water use per person rises, demand for freshwater is soaring. Yet the supply of freshwater is finite.
Monitoring is the first step towards action and it is proven to be an efficient water-saving technique. Faucets based on the e-cartridge enable the user to know the flow rates in real time, as well as the accumulative water consumption.
In addition, the maximum flow rate can be limited to a user-defined or a factory-defined rate.
The overall showering water consumption can be reduced by 30% without noticeable change in the shower experience.
e-cartridge achieves its thermostatic ability by electronic feedback control. It complies with the industry top standards, such as EN NF 1111 and ASME A112.18.1.
e-cartridge works on an autonomic power source – batteries. It is capable of 1.2 years of operation in regular conditions, with a standard AA batteries set, and more than 2 years of operation with special batteries set.
e-cartridge small dimensions and slim design allow its installation in virtually any setup. It is compliant with the building industry standards and is well suited for in-wall installation. It needs no wiring and can be installed by an ordinary-skilled plumber, or by the customer himself.
e-cartridge is designed as a modular unit. It has self-diagnostic capability: when the system detects malfunctioning in one of the modules, it informs the user which module must be replaced. The malfunctioning module can be replaced by ordering the replacing module without the need to replace other modules in the system. The replacement procedure is simple and can be done by an ordinary-skilled plumber or by the customer. A good example of the self-diagnostic capability is the detection of batteries draining before time.
Unlike with the traditional thermostatic faucets, faucets based on SmarTap e-cartridge enable each family member to save his/her preferred showering conditions in memory. By a single button touch each family member activates his/her preferred conditions, without the need to make any kind of adjustments. The same water conditions are guaranteed each time even if the conditions in the inlets have been changing.
Through additional module, e-cartridge can electronically control the different outlets, when applicable.
February 24, 2014
The Truth Behind the Palestinian Water Libels
BESA Center Perspectives Paper
Prof. Haim Gvirtzman
Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology. The Palestinians refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste. At the same time, they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources, and send their sewage flowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel. In short, the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.
A significant public debate has been sparked by the assertion of European Parliament President Martin Schulz that the amount of water available to the average Israeli unfairly overwhelms the amount of water available to the average Palestinian. The main issue that should be discussed – and has not been sufficiently analyzed – is: What are the causes of Palestinian water supply problems?
The discussion must be informed by the following basic facts:
1. The Oslo agreements grant the Palestinians the right to draw 70 million cubic meters from the Eastern Mountain Aquifer (ground water reservoir). Yet this water resource is not currently being capitalized on by the Palestinians; the waters spill untapped underground into the Dead Sea. As per the Israeli-Palestinian agreement, some 40 sites were identified for drilling into this aquifer in the eastern Hebron hills region, and permits were granted to the Palestinians by the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee. Nevertheless, over the past 20 years, the Palestinians have drilled at just one-third of these sites, despite the fact that the international community has offered to finance the drilling of all sites. If the Palestinians were to drill and develop all these wells, they could have completely solved the existing water shortage in the Hebron hills region. But the Palestinians have preferred to drill wells on the Western Mountain Aquifer, the basin that provides groundwater to the State of Israel. Instead of solving the problem they have chosen to squabble with Israel.
2. The Palestinians do not bother fixing water leaks in city pipes. Up to 33 percent of water in Palestinian cities is wasted through leakage. Upkeep on the Palestinians’ urban water infrastructure has been completely neglected. By comparison, leakage from Israeli municipal water pipes amount to only 10 percent of water usage.
3. The Palestinians refuse to build water treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so under the Oslo agreement. Sewage flows out of Palestinian towns and villages directly into local streams, thereby polluting the environments and the aquifer and causing the spread of disease. Despite the fact that donor countries are willing to fully fund the building of treatment plants, the Palestinians have managed to avoid their obligations to build such facilities. (Only over the past two years has Israeli pressure moved the PA forward a bit on this matter.)
4. The Palestinians absolutely refuse to irrigate their agricultural fields with treated sewage effluents. By comparison, more than half the agricultural fields in Israel are irrigated with treated waste water. Irrigating Palestinian agricultural fields with recycled water instead of fresh water would free up large amounts of water for home usage. This would greatly reduce the water shortage in many places.
5. Some Palestinian farmers irrigate their fields by flooding, rather than with drip irrigation technology. Drip irrigation, as practiced in Israel, brings water directly to the root of each plant, thereby reducing water consumption by more than 50 percent. Flooding fields causes huge water evaporation and leads to great waste.
6. The international community has offered to build a desalination plant for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians have refused this gift. A desalination plant could completely solve the Gaza Strip’s water shortages. The Palestinians refuse to build this plant because they claim they have the right to access the fresh groundwater reservoir in Judea and Samaria, and they are prepared to suffer until they realize this dream. In the meanwhile, Gaza residents suffer from severe shortages of water.
These basic, undeniable facts are extremely important because they have wide-ranging consequences.
Today, the Palestinians consume some 200 million cubic meters of water per annum in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians could easily raise that amount by at least 50 percent, without any additional assistance or allocation from the State of Israel. This would require several simple actions:
If the Palestinians were to begin drilling the Eastern Mountain Aquifer, at the sites already approved for drilling, they very quickly would secure an additional 50 million cubic meters of water per year.
If the Palestinians were to reduce urban water waste from 33 percent to 20 percent by fixing the main leaks in their urban water pipes (something that can be done without great effort), they would immediately benefit from 10 million additional cubic meters of water per annum.
If the Palestinians were to collect and treat their urban waste water, they would gain at least 30 million cubic meters of water a year. This would free up 30 million cubic meters (per annum) of fresh water, currently used for agriculture, for home usage. This would allow them both to improve their urban water supply and to expand agricultural lands.
If the Palestinians were to adopt drip irrigation technology, they would save 10 million cubic meters a year. This would allow them to expand their irrigated lands.
In the Gaza Strip, too, the Palestinians could easily double the amount of water available, without additional assistance from the State of Israel. If the Palestinians agreed to build a desalination plant on the Gaza coast (funded entirely by the international community), they would increase the amount of water available by 60 to 100 million cubic meters a year. If they fix leakages, treat and recycle sewage, and adopt drip irrigation, they would double their water allocation, as well.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority’s deleterious policies – as evidenced in the six facts listed above – are a function of the Palestinian water war against Israel. There is no real Palestinian desire to solve water problems; they prefer to perpetuate the water problems in order to besmirch the State of Israel. They view water as a tool with which to bash Israel.
The warlike strategy adopted by the Palestinian Authority regarding water explains several additional realities.
Illegal drilling of wells: As of 2010, the Palestinians had drilled about 250 unauthorized wells into the Western and Northern Aquifers, in violation of the Oslo agreements. Since 2010 the number of unauthorized wells being dug has continued to rise at an alarming pace. This has caused a reduction in the natural discharge of water in the Beit Shean and Harod valleys, forcing Israeli farmers to reduce their agricultural plantings. Ultimately, the State of Israel has been forced to reduce its pumping at the Mountain aquifer from 500 million cubic meters per annum in 1967 to about 400 million cubic meters per annum today.
The Palestinians also steal water by pirate tapping into pipes belonging to Mekorot, Israel’s national water company. As a result, Mekorot’s ability to supply water to Israelis and Palestinians alike has been compromised. The stolen water is used mainly for agriculture, not for home usage.
Sustainable development: The PA purposefully flaunts the principle of “sustainable development” – a core standard of effective and modern economic management – in every way. Authorities that do not fix water leaks, do not collect and treat sewage, refuse to conserve water used for agriculture, and do not collect payment for water usage are in flagrant violation of this principle.
Which brings us to another dirty little secret about the Palestinians: most West Bank and Gaza residents and businesses do not pay the PA for the water they use, in either their homes or fields. There are simply no water meters on pumping wells and no water meters at the entry to most homes, so it is impossible for the PA to measure the amount of money owed by individual consumers. This, of course, leads to widespread water waste. People who don’t pay for their water usage have no motivation to conserve.
Reliance on Israel: The Palestinians purchase about 50 million cubic meters of water from Israel’s Mekorot water company each year, but the Palestinian Authority does not pay for this water directly. Rather, the State of Israel pays Mekorot, and then deducts the costs of the water from the customs and tax monies that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority at Israeli ports. However, it must be noted that the Palestinian Authority pays Mekorot for just 80 percent of the actual cost of the water it consumes. Negotiations to raise water prices have dragged on for more than 10 years, and Israel has given up many times.
Because the water market is administered in an opaque fashion, the Israeli consumer effectively subsidizes the Palestinian consumer. The average Israeli pays approximately 10 shekels per cubic meter of water. About 0.2 shekels of that fee goes to subsidize the water provided to the Palestinians below cost.
The sum total of the situation described above is that the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is more interested in reducing the amount of water available to Israel, polluting natural reservoirs, harming Israeli farmers, and sullying Israel’s reputation around the world than truly solving water problems for the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are not interested in practical solutions to address shortages; rather, they seek to perpetuate the shortages, and to blame the State of Israel.
Unfortunately, President Schulz’s Knesset address, with its seemingly-straightforward but baseless accusations against Israel, suggests that the PA is succeeding in this effort to befuddle international observers and besmirch Israel.
Beyond the conclusion reached above, it is worthwhile to consider a broader perspective on the water situation in the Middle East. The Palestinians live in the shadow of the State of Israel, a world superpower in terms of water technologies. Consequently, the Palestinians enjoy a relative Garden of Eden. Only in Israel, in the West Bank, and in Gulf States does sufficient, safe, drinkable tap water exist in 96 percent of households. Residents in almost every other country in the region suffer from terrible water shortages.
In Amman, the Jordanian capital, water is supplied to private homes just once every two weeks. In Syria, agricultural fields in the Euphrates Valley are drying up due to the upstream diversion of water by the Turks. In recent years (before the “Arab Spring” began), about three million farmers migrated from the Euphrates Valley to the outskirts of Damascus because their lands had dried up. In Damascus, too, the water running in the river beds, which used for drinking, is mixed with sewage. In Iraq, agricultural fields are drying up because waters upstream on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers are being diverted by the Turks. There too, millions of farmers lost their lands. In Egypt, enormous amounts of water are lost due to flood irrigation. The Nile provides 30 times more water than Israel’s annual usage and Egypt’s population is just 10 times greater than Israel. Therefore, we would expect to see a water surplus. Nevertheless, Egypt suffers from severe hunger and thirst due to severe wastage of water. In North Africa too, there are insufferable water shortages.
By contrast, the State of Israel creates artificial water (desalinated seawater and recycled sewage) and behaves frugally and effectively, and as a result there is no shortage of water, despite having experienced many years of drought. Furthermore, the State of Israel is a net exporter of water! Israel supplies 55 million cubic meters of water each year to Jordan, and sells 50 million cubic meters to the Palestinians.
In the future, if and when peace is achieved, and cooperation is truly desired by the Palestinians – which they do not currently seek – the State of Israel will be ready and able to assist its neighbors in overcoming their water shortages.
Prof. Haim Gvirtzman is a professor of hydrology at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University and a member of the Israel Water Authority Council. He is also a long-time advisor of the Israel-PA Joint Water Committee. He authored the BESA Center’s groundbreaking 2012 study on Israel-Palestinian water issues.