Water Rich and Water Poor – A Tale About Israel and Tanzania

tanzania water israel cooperation photo

Israel is very small country, as compared to most African countries, such as Tanzania.

Yet despite this vast land difference (Israel has a land area of 8,019 sq miles compared to Tanzania’s 364,900 sq miles) Israel has been able to utilize 95% of its renewable water resources, estimated at 1,800 million cubic meters, and grow a significant part of it’s own food.

Tanzania has significantly more fresh water resources available, including more than half of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest fresh water lake; Lake Tanganyika, and part of Lake Nyasa (otherwise known as Lake Malawi).

Yet despite this, Tanzania has a chronic food shortage due to a severe water shortage problem, and millions of children suffering from various physical ailments attributed to malnutrition. Can Israel help them?

A recent newspaper article appearing in The Citizen, Tanzania’s most prominent English language newspaper, noted the achievements on water resource development and conservation in Israel, as compared to that in its own country.

Compared to Tanzania, Israel’s natural sources for fresh water include the Kinneret Lake or Sea of Galilee, The Carmel Mountain Aquifer, and the Coastal Plain Aquifer. Some fresh water is also taken from mountains in the West Bank, but in more limited quantities.

The most promising source of fresh water is now said to be coming from the construction of desalination plants in Israel, a large one already completed by the southern city of Ashkelon, and mentioned previously in previous Green Prophet articles, and another one being constructed near Hadera: up to 100 M3 a year and is said to be the world’s largest reverse osmosis RO technology plant of its kind in the world.

And most noteworthy, Israel’s 7.4 million population enjoys a much higher standard of living than Tanzania’s population of 34 million, most of whom get by with an annual income of less than $600.

The situation in Tanzania may begin to change for the better, however, as more closer cooperation is being planned between the two countries in regards to agriculture and water conservation.

Tanzanian water and Irrigation Minister, Prof. Mark Mwandosya, is planning to attend the 2009 international Water Technologies and environmental Control Exhibition (WATEC) conference in Israel in order to obtain ideas for water and energy efficiency, water quality, desalination, and water supply. Green Prophet plans on being at WATEC a great place to learn about Israeli water innovation, so drop us a line if you’d like to network or promote your company ([email protected]).

Israel is already a leader in these fields that Tanzania is interested in developing, and Rotem Industrial Park near Dimona has a wealth of agricultural and energy research projects going on which can be of great benefit to people in Tanzania and in other parts of the world.

Food shortages, such as those presently in Tanzania, where an annual population growth rate of 2.07% is contrasted to an annual food production rate of only 2.4%, might well be aided by using Israel’s example, where food shortages are solved by using innovations in agriculture.

Examples Israel of water management and innovation  include the NEWtech program or Novel Efficient Water Technologies in which the success of recycling waste water has been very successful, with up to 75% of wastewater being decontaminated and purified enough to be used to agriculture and other use. You can read a teaser on NEWtech here on Green Prophet.

[image via dvids]

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