(A bird’s eye view of Chan HaShayarot)
We’ve already learned about immersion Arabic in a solar Bedouin village in Israel. Here’s another eco-tourism stop: located in the Negev, just south of Sde Boker, the Chan HaShayarot provides guests with a true Bedouin experience including camel rides, Bedouin food, and the option of sleeping in a Bedouin tent.
The Chan, which is a popular stop for Israelis, foreigners, and tour groups, is now working with water management company Triple T, to improve the process of disposing its waste water in a way that is less energy intensive, durable in the arid Negev climate, and able to recycle waste water to irrigate a nearby olive orchard that is currently irrigated with potable water.
Speaking with Tal of Triple T, I found that the company has several water treatment projects completed in the Negev. Tal explained how Triple T’s technology essentially creates a wetland that uses natural algae and a layer of biofilm to reduce microorganisms in the water.
This wetland process is sped up by a system involving two water basins (roughly 12 feet deep) that sift water back and forth 12 times per day, in order to constantly oxygenate the water and filter at a faster rate.
Water from the showers goes straight to the first basin and toilet water first has its solid wastes removed through a gravel filtration system. The water is sifted between the two basins for 3 days, and then the water is not pure, but it is at a level of cleanliness that the ministry of health has deemed acceptable for irrigating crops that do not grow in or directly on the soil.
The Chan’s new water system has several environmental benefits:
First, It cleans the wastewater enough so that it does not damage the surrounding ecosystem. Additionally it allows for crops to be irrigated by reusing wastewater, and with triple T’s technology the goal is to reduce electricity and maintenance by keeping the process as natural as possible.
In the Negev, dust is always an issue that inhibits green technology, whether solar panels or water systems, and Tal said that it is still one of the main aspects that the company works to improve upon.
Corresponding with their technicians in the United States, Triple T is constructing a covering that will keep the water system protected from the dust.
Although the Chan HaShayarot aims to give guests an escape into the desert and experience a Bedoiun lifestyle, it is nice to see that new water technology is being used to reduce environmental damage. The Chan hopes for the success of the new water treatment system that will be completed in the next few weeks, and to continue its environmental programs like Negev nature tours and biking tours.