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May 08, 2015

Israel Aids California's Water Conservation

Writing in USA Today, Michele Chabin (“Israel’s guide to water,” May 8, 2015) reports how Israel is helping drought-stricken California. The article reminds readers there is much more to Israel than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As Chabin notes, “Israel, subject to intermittent droughts for decades, has pioneered a number of water-saving techniques. It long ago figured out how to grow crops in the desert and for decades has advised the developing world on how to manage scarce water resources.”

Following its own drought six years ago, Israel began a campaign to educate the public about water conservation, increased recycling of used water, and boosted desalination efforts. Today, these efforts have led to purification of 85 percent of all household wastewater, 40 percent of drinking water from desalination (a process in which salt and chemicals are removed from seawater), and farmers growing less thirsty crops and using additional water-conserving technologies. In the replanted Yatir Forest on the edge of the Negev Desert, Israeli foresters have even developed methods to keep millions of pine trees alive on less than four inches of rain a year.

With decades of success in managing droughts, Israel, USA Today notes, “is eager to share its latest know-how with drought-ridden states like California.”

IDE Technologies, an Israeli company, is now helping to design a desalination plant in Carlsbad, California that would provide 300,000 residents with 50 million gallons per day of drinking water.

Chabin quotes UCLA Professor Yoram Cohen as saying that for a variety of reasons—size, pricing, and permitting—Israel’s model can’t be duplicated in much larger California. Yet, the professor noted that Golden State could still learn lessons on combating water shortages from Israelis.

Covering Israel’s handling of its water shortage—and detailing the applicability of these lessons for California—gives readers a fresh perspective in what sometimes seems like a flood of stories fixated only on Israel as seen through the lens of Palestinian complaints. -- Sean Durns


Posted by ER at May 8, 2015 03:56 PM

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