WATER SOLUTIONS

Solutions for a Water-Starved World


 

 

For decades, Jewish National Fund as a part of the support for the land and people of Israel has been working to bolster Israel’s water economy by developing alternative water sources, advancing Israeli agriculture, and improving water quality. The results are impressive. JNF’s work with water has increased Israel’s water economy by over 15% through the treatment, recycling, and collection of both waste and runoff water, responsible aquifer drilling, and river rehabilitation.

 

We have built over 250 reservoirs, which has raised the amount of recycled water in Israel from 4% to over 85% today. Furthermore, over half of Israel’s agricultural water comes from recycled and reused wastewater, and most of that water is supplied by JNF reservoirs.

While Israel is now more water secure than it has ever been, our work is not over and the need for water is not going away. Israel’s population is growing, and with that growth comes the need for additional reliable water resources. What's more, Israel has faced consecutive years of drought, which has significantly impacted the conditions in the Sea of Galilee and groundwater reservoirs. No major impact is expected to affect the drinking water supply thanks to the success of desalination plants. However, the drought is significantly impacting agriculture, which requires large quantities of less expensive water so as to be productive and profitable.

 

Jewish National Fund’s past accomplishments and successes have laid the groundwork that today enable us to continue to invest in Israel’s water, and in turn for Israel to share its technology with the world. Our efforts now focus on the next generation of water needs.

 

RESERVOIRS

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Over the years, JNF has built 250 reservoirs across Israel. Each of these reservoirs stores recycled and runoff water for both local and regional communities. The recycled water reservoirs are actually the final stage in a complex process that involves purifying sewage, treating and storing the recycled water in reservoirs, where it then can be piped out for use in irrigation. JNF continues to maintain the reservoirs Israel needs to sustain its water-rich economy. More than 50% of Israel's agricultural water comes from recycled water stored in JNF reservoirs. With the recent severe droughts in Israel, there is an imperative need to build more reservoirs to store additional treated water. The drought is having a significant effect on farmers throughout Israel, who are struggling with agricultural production as their national water quotas are cut. Israel needs 90 new water reservoirs to ensure that farmers have the water supply they need to grow crops, and to reach the goal of recycling 95% of its water. 

WATER DRILLINGS

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Jewish National Fund has long been invested in innovative and groundbreaking techniques to help alleviate the water crisis in Israel and has been very successful in doing so. The Shamir Drilling project has made a significant contribution to the water economy of the Galilee and Golan Heights: from three drills, it’s possible to now produce approximately 17.5 million cubic meters per year for agricultural use. While this drilling project is providing the water needed, JNF is now supporting research initiatives to improve and enhance the water quality and quantity. JNF is working with communities in the Negev on a similar venture.

Halutza was founded in 2005 by a group of families who established three communities: Naveh, Atzmona, and Netzarim. Located in the northwest Negev on Israel’s borders with Egypt and Gaza, these pioneers chose to move to this remote corner of the desert—secluded from the national water grid —to a land which had never been inhabited or farmed—because they saw the development of the Negev as Israel’s next national mission and wanted to participate in building our nation.

The water that is currently supplied to the communities of Halutza is desalinated water—the most expensive type of watermaking the agricultural yields unprofitable. Locating and producing a more cost efficient water is a condition of agriculture continuing in this region. JNF is working with the communities of Halutza on a two-phase research and drilling project that will provide the region with water of good quality for a much lower cost.

RECYCLING

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Israel reuses over 85% of its water, ranking as the number one country to do so across the globe. Reusing this water after purification and improving its quality not only saves water, but also decreases pollution of the environment. Agriculture consumes over 65% of the national use of water and over 50% of the water used for agriculture in Israel comes from recycled water. It is JNF’s goal to help Israel increase their usage of recycled water from 85% to 95%. To achieve that, among additional recycling projects, JNF is currently planning to help build a new facility for sewage purification in the Arava to treat all of the wastewater from regional kibbutzim and purify it for agricultural use. This project is critical because the Arava is not connected to the national water grid; it is a region where every drop counts, until it can’t be used again. Another is Project Wadi Attir, a groundbreaking initiative of a Bedouin community in the Negev, JNF is implementing a Wastewater Treatment System that will manage farm waste, maximize water conservation in an eco-friendly way.

RIVER REHABILITATION

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In the first decades of the State of Israel, rivers, and environmental protection in general, were low priorities. During these early years, there was a consensus that the country’s rivers should serve agriculture and economy, resulting in the pumping of the rivers upstream, while the lower parts were allowed to be transformed into open sewer canals and municipal dumps. JNF is working to help correct the damage done to rivers across Israel including Be’er Sheva River Park and Lake, Hadera River, Harod River, Yerucham Park, and more. In the past decade, JNF has led in the rehabilitation of the Be’er Sheva Lake as well, a 23-acre man-made lake filled with recycled water—serving as the focal point of Be’er Sheva River Park as well as the source of irrigation for the entire 1,300 acre park.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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Jewish National Fund's contribution towards helping alleviate Israel’s water crisis is not limited to building reservoirs. Cutting-edge research is critical for efficient water usage. Research must also be translated into action and JNF is working towards implementing the findings across Israel and turning it into reality. Successes thus far include the Shamir Wells Research, the largest natural underground water resource of the past decade in Israel; the Hula Basin, which is a vital component of Israel’s natural water economy; the Besor River Basin Rehabilitation; and MYWAS, the Multi-Year Water Allocation System which is a national water management model designed to achieve the most efficient water resource management possible.

 

JNF is also involved in numerous projects of R&D as it pertains to water for agriculture. In the arid climate of the Arava the price and availability of water is a major concern, especially considering the Arava produces a large percentage of Israel’s fresh produce—of which dates are the largest and most profitable export. The Lysimeter is a research measurement tool that will help in the regulation, rationalization, and utilization of water in the Arava for date plants to optimize the cost and output of this crop.

EDUCATION

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Knowledge is power, and one of Israel’s greatest resources in water awareness is its myriad educational programs. JNF has been supporting this educational process for many years with its Rainwater Harvesting system, which is now installed in over 50 schools across Israel—a practical way to save water as well as a hands-on, interactive means of educating students about conservation and encouraging scientific curiosity. JNF is also the main sponsor of the Israeli International Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition, which is known as the “Junior Nobel Prize for Water Research.” To support higher education in the field of water, JNF is building the laboratory floor of the Water Industries Research and Training Center at the Kinneret College Center of Excellence, located by the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel.
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