According to the World Health Organization, 2.1 billion people do not have reliable access to safe, non-contaminated drinking water worldwide, and sanitation issues impact another 4.5 billion people worldwide. Arid conditions as to be expected in the deserts of the Middle East contribute to the problem, and Israel being a small New-Jersey sized nation surrounded by sometimes hostile neighbors also struggling with similar water shortages compound water deficiencies in the Holy Land specifically.
Israel has engineered many high-tech and sometimes low-tech solutions in response to its water shortages without having to rely on other nations, which are presented and discussed among the WATEC community for ongoing continuing improvement; two of these solutions are presented below. This is certainly not an all inclusive list of how Israel is attempting to quench its water crisis, but is a brief snapshot into two ongoing solutions employed by the tiny arid, currently drought-striken nation:
After years of water shortages resulting from desert climates and inconsistent to non-existent rainfall, Israel today leads the world in desalination efforts. Upwards of one third of the nation’s tap water needs are fulfilled by desalinating the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea into purer drinkable water.
"If we had to rely on sources of fresh water, we wouldn't be here," stated Oded Distel, Director of Israel New Tech, an organization providing grant funding to eligible high-tech water entrepreneurship endeavors. "In Israel, we use every drop twice."
Desalination generally operates via one of two mechanisms: evaporation and reverse osmosis.
Evaporation results from water passage through chambers in fancy machines, where differentials in pressure and temperature result in partial water evaporation. This process leaves the sea salts behind in remaining non-evaporated water, resulting in brine which is recycled back into the sea. The resulting evaporated water vapor is then condensed back into liquid water, which is then free of salts and therefore potable.
Reverse osmosis uses different fancy machines and high tech gizmos containing membranes. Seawater is pushed against this membrane, which acts as a filter allowing the water to pass through while the salts remain on the other side, unable to pass through the membrane. The water which actually passes through the filter is considered desalinated and thus drinkable, whereas any liquid that does not pass through the filter for whatever reason is recycled to the Mediterranean Sea.
Starting in 2019, some of the desalinated water will infuse the Sea of Galilee in response to years of ongoing drought conditions in the country, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Water-Gen is an unique Israeli startup that in its simplest terms, “gets water from the air” by condensing the humidity in the air into potable water using high tech atmospheric water generators. Air filtration systems and activated carbon embedded in the technology remove micro-particles and organic residues while adding back in trace minerals needed for optimal human health. Ultraviolet radiation zaps microbial levels to purify the water minimizing risks of human disease. By not sourcing ground water, there is less contamination of the water from arsenic, fluoride, and agricultural runoff.
“I just heard about an African woman in Africa, has to walk eight hours a day to give water to her children – four hours one way to a well, four hours back,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of Water-Gen at a major conference, Harretz reported. “And a young Israeli company brought in this technology that improves on Moses. You remember Moses? He brought water from a rock? They [Water-Gen] bring water from thin air. They bring water to Africa, to millions of people in Africa - Israeli technology!”
While the technology may not be serving all of the African continent quite as impressively as Netanyahu portrayed, it has certainly facilitated increased access to drinking water in rural villages throughout the world, supplied hospitals, schools, and many metropolitan areas, and the technology was even donated to the American Red Cross and FEMA as part of an international humanitarian response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the summer of 2017.
In addition to helping hurricane victims in the United States, Water-Gen has also utilized its technology to address water shortages in the poverty-striken Gaza Strip in response to international and United Nations-led humanitarian efforts, to revitalize that area, reported Arutz Sheva.
U.S. President Donald Trump was intrigued enough by the technology that he personally hosted co-CEO Edward Russo and President/Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun at his Mar-a-Lago property in southern Florida to learn more about Water-Gen and potential implications in bringing it to America. With initial approval granted by the Environmental Protection Agency, Water-Gen is just now starting expansion into the United States, capitalizing on the oppressive humidity of the Deep South to purify even more water for human consumption.
“Americans like having products that are made in America,” Water-Gen President/Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun told Fox Business, according to Arutz Sheva. “And as the president said - and he has been a true friend of Israel - we have the ability to create jobs using patented technology.”
Written by Erin Parfet