America gives more than half a million dollars to Israeli and Palestinian water researchers to clean water in the West Bank.
Ben Gurion University researcher Dr. Moshe Herzberg (above) and Prof. Mohammed Saleem Ali-Shtayeh of the Biodiversity & Environmental Research Center in Nablus, have received an American USAID-MERC grant of $659,410 to increase the clean water supply around Israel and the Middle East.
This study brings together Israelis and Palestinians to address clean water issues in the West Bank area of Nablus over a five-year period. The team includes Dr. Moshe Herzberg (BGU), Dr. Osnat Gillor (BGU), Prof. Mohammed Saleem Ali-Shtayeh (BERC) and Dr. Helen Thanh Nguyen, a grant advisor and assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
The grant will address biofouling of Reverse Osmosis (RO) membranes during reclamation of secondary wastewater. Reverse Osmosis membrane filtration is normally used for desalination and reclamation of secondary effluents removing organics and undesired salts from water.
The study, “Reclamation of Secondary Effluents with Reverse Osmosis Membranes (RO): Fouling Mechanisms and Control” will focus on the mechanisms by which microbial biofilm formation on RO membranes (“biofouling”) impacts the decrease in membrane performance. It will also suggest novel ways to mitigate biofouling and clean biofouled membranes.
The team plans to characterize and develop novel ways to eradicate different biofilms grown on RO membranes. Biofilm characterization will include adhesion properties, microbial community structure, growth kinetics, and chemical structure.
These techniques can be applied to increase access to clean water supply in the Middle East, especially in the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Purified secondary wastewater is an immediate resource for irrigation and after RO filtration, those waters can be used indirectly for drinking.
Read more on desalination:
The IDE Launches Desalination Plant in Israel
Saudi Arabia to Use Sun Power at Desalination Plant
New Hadera Desalination Plant Could Revive the Dying Jordan River
Japan and Saudi Arabia Co-develop Desalination Technologies
Read our series of interviews with Israeli water experts:
1. All the Water in Israel: Interviews with Government, Analysts and Researchers
2. Interview with Israel’s past water commissioner, Shimon Tal
3. Gidon Bromberg on Water Security and Sustainability in the Middle East
4. Read our interview with Israel’s Water Commission
5. Interview with Eli Ronen, the Chairman of Mekorot
6. Interview with Ranaan Borel (SPNI) on Water Security in Israel