Chascham, the water saving device that can reduce flow by as much as 42%.
In April, Green Prophet had a chance to go from door to door with Vered Hatab, a water savings advisor hired by the Milgam Municipal Services company to sell Israelis on using less water.
Hatab, 23, was lugging a case full of plumbing tools through apartment buildings in Herzliya. Dressed in a light blue button-down blouse, a brown skirt and black sneakers, she made her pitch to the residents.
“I want to talk to you about the water shortage in Israel,” she said, as an elderly woman in a housedress poked her head out the door. “Can I come in?”
Hatab is part of a team of 45 water saving advisors deployed in 20 Israeli cities. They knock on doors for five hours in the afternoon, offering water tips and installing chaschams, which are small metal cylinders that reduce water flow by up to 42 percent while using air to maintain the same pressure. Chascham in Hebrew is a shortening of the words “saves water.” The project started as a pilot in 2007, and if it reduces water demand within this year, it will be rolled out on a nationwide scale.
Israel’s water shortage is pretty dire. Yet one untapped resource is getting consumers to use less of it. On average, Israelis consumer more water per capita than Germans.
On that Thursday, Hatab went into the woman’s living room and started reeling off water facts.
“You have a two-handled toilet? Excellent,” Hatab said to her customer. “Ok, let’s talking about water for drinking and cooking, you can save 20 percent. There’s a phenomenon of leaving the faucet running [while you wash dishes]. It goes through nine liters a minute. In the shower, it’s 16 liters a minute.”
Moments later, Hatab was screwing a chascham onto the woman’s faucet. She sold 15 devices that afternoon.
By April, Milgam had installed about 60,000 chaschams, with the average house taking three. The advisors also run school programs on water savings.
Zaki Libi, Milgam’s director of the project, said installing devices is the best way of permanently reducing demand for water because its effect lasts longer than an ad campaign that only runs for a few months.
Similar water-saving projects have been run in Australia, which is suffering from a drought so bad its rice industry has collapsed this year. Since domestic use in Israel accounts for just under 40 percent of the national water budget, projects like this can have a strong impact. Let’s hope they go national – and fast!
Photo by Daniella Cheslow.