Water: Waste Not, Want Not

The water shortage is becoming an increasingly worrying crisis. As the situation grows ever more acute, it is feared that water will once again become a cause of disputes and that there could even be wars over water resources.

Even before the State of Israel was founded, its leaders realized that in order to ensure the existence of a developed country on the border of a desert region, it had to have a developed and state-of-the art water infrastructure. It was with this in mind that Mekorot, Israel’s national water carrier, was established 70 years ago.

Over the years, a nation-wide water carrying system evolved, using every water resource available: surface water, ground water, brackish water, and sea water. The skill in treating and upgrading different types of water made Mekorot a key factor in Israel’s water industry and, more recently, also in water conservation worldwide.

But treating fresh water is not enough. Mekorot has developed a method for treating and upgrading waste water that has helped establish agriculture, and today 70% of the water for agricultural purposes is recycled from effluent.

The outlying Arava region is not connected to the national water carrier pipeline, nor to the waste waster delivery system. Consequently, Mekorot carried out a deep-water drill at a site in the Arava region down to a depth of 1 to 1.5 kilometers, which produced ground water that was unfit for drinking or agricultural purposes. Using local desalination and water treatment facilities, this water was upgraded to the highest quality, making it suitable for household use and agriculture. The fact that agriculture in the Arava is now thriving, with most of its produce earmarked for export, is proof of this.

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