According to Israel’s Minister of Strategic and Public Diplomacy, “nearly 90 percent of our waste water is recycled…That’s around four times higher than any other country in the world.” In fact, 25% of the water used in Israel comes from recycling, bringing water security to a nation that is 70 percent desert. Over 80 percent of waste water produced by homes is recycled, adding up to 400 million cubic meters per year to be reused. Waste water is recycled in any one of 67 large treatment facilities around the country. Most of the recycled water is used for irrigating agriculture, but some are also used to artificially recharge groundwater resources.
During the beginning of the 2000s, because of the scarcity of water, minimally treated wastewater was dumped in rivers to prevent them from drying up. The resulting pollution produced a ban of any wastewater, regardless of quality, from being released into rivers. Now able to treat wastewater to meet high-quality standards, wastewater is again being released into rivers and has allowed their ecosystems to flourish. In order to ensure the quality of water being released, standards have been set for “suspended solids, organic load, nitrogen concentrations, and indicators for pathogenic microorganisms. The right balance is being sought between environmental requirements….and economic cost.”
With world population increasing and global temperatures doing the same, (and negatively affecting amounts of precipitation), Israel is proving that wastewater treatment works. Low-cost, effective, treatment facilities could be the answer to the increasing need for clean water, from America’s vast agricultural fields to remote areas in Africa, waste water could be treated and made usable again.
By: Ellie Cabell