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🤖 "The Two Surprising Pillars that Support Israel's Water Miracle"

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Taylor Brandon / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Ravid Levy | Founder & Consultant | RLV Consulting
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[9:50] “I love the branding of Israel as the startup nation. I think it has a lot of reality in that and if you just look at the numbers […] from patents per capita to how many unicorns [came] out of Israeli startups in the last couple of years. […] But when it comes to water, I think there needs to be a little bit of perspective that separates between Israel as a hub of water management and water innovation, and the startup part of it, which is just a relatively small, although important, and a growing part of that. There's a lot of things in which Israel […] can be an example for innovative and also successful water effluent […] management. However, not all of that really translates into what can be called as the water startup nation. There's a lot to be proud of and still a lot to aim for in that regard.”

[11:44] “One thing that we rarely talk about in this water market environment […] is irrigation or agriculture. Agriculture is the biggest user of water, by far globally. […] Netafim […] is an Israeli company that in the 60s invented drip irrigation in the south of Israel in the desert, in order to make water used by plants more efficient. And today it's the world leader in drip or precision irrigation and a billion dollar company. But that invention initiated […] out of […] a continuous need of not enough water to grow crops and food in the desert from that point […] and now all around the world solves similar or the same needs in other places. So that's an example of an Israeli need that led to a local invention that turned into global innovation that these days solves a lot of water problems around the world.”

[15:00] “Another example from a different angle that connects to water, but we rarely think about or deal with enough, is the connection between energy and water. And then this goes to another Israeli innovation that started back in the 60s, but made mandatory in the 70s. And this is solar water heating. Now, you rarely think about how much energy is being put into heating our water at home and multiply that by the number of homes. So Israel in the 70s suffered from both water scarcity as always but […] also energy scarcity. […] And today […] about 85% of all homes in Israel have solar water heaters and that saves about 6 to 8% of the national power use. Now, think about how many countries have so much sunshine and now invest in a lot of solar power. But still, people turn on their water heaters every day at home using power just to take a shower. […] This is not maybe saving water, but saving a lot of energy. [It’s the] water-energy nexus [and] we [don’t] realize enough how closely those things are related.”

[18:35] “There were two basic pillars that the entire Israeli water miracle [was] built on. One was back from the 50s and that's the National Water Law. That was one of the first laws […] by the founders of the state, which defined all water resources around the country, both above and below ground, both dirty and clean, everything from rainwater to seawater even to be public domain, to belong to the public. There is no private water in Israel. There are some waters that are being allocated by the government to private entities, […] but the ownership of water resources by law belongs to the public. And therefore, and that's the second pillar, it's allowed to establish very efficient central planning and central management systems for this national resource.

[20:22] “There's long term planning and there's obviously an annual plan that takes into account the rainfall and the available resources. So when there's for example, a good winter, […] so relatively high rainfall, then the central planning can downsize a little bit of pumping from underground to replenish groundwater levels, or sometimes also reduce a little bit purchase from the desalination plants to balance between the different sources and the cost […]. You cannot look at the Israeli success in managing its water in limited water resources without understanding that underneath all that lies central planning of [those] resources and that not everyone can just do whatever they like with the water underneath their feet.

[22:24] “Municipal wastewater in general is being treated and mostly reused in Israel. […] About 85 […] percent of all domestic wastewater in Israel is being treated and reused for agriculture, and only for agriculture. So all these discussions about drinking your nervous pee or toilet to tap and all that is practically irrelevant in Israel, because none of the wastewater is being reused for drinking, there is a very strict and clear separation.”

[32:26] “One of the things that also came out of the Israeli experience […] and also from the National Water Law that does not differentiate […] between big cities and isolated settlements and villages. All are under the same law, everybody should get the same quality of water, it also should answer to […] almost the same regulation. And from there started […] what is now a very common buzzword, which is decentralized or distributed water treatment and wastewater treatment, because each and every village, settlement, army camp, […] should have and has practically its water supply. […] And now that approach is also taken to the world.”

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🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 52 min | 🗓️ 06/16/2021
✅ Time saved: 50 min