Israel reclaims 75 percent of its wastewater.
Besides being a world leader in reverse osmosis desalination plants, this little country of 7.5 million people is the world leader in reclaiming sewage water for use in agriculture, especially in the country’s dry Negev region. What goes down the john can also water our crops: Israel now manages to reclaim 75% of its wastewater, by treating and filtering it in ultra modern filtration plants like the Shafdan Wastewater Treatment Plant located just outside Tel Aviv.
The success of this water treatment plant, and the high quality of water that is treated there, is so impressive that it was the subject of a news feature on CNN’s Middle East Edition program. The program, entitled Turning Sludge into Profits, featured an interview with Yuval Sela, the plant’s Chief Engineer.
Sela spoke in very enthusiastic terms about the success of the plant, which is able to turn sewage sludge, the end result of what people flush down their toilets, into “very clean water” that is used to grow a wide variety of crops including fruit and vegetables, wheat and other grains; as well as flowers.
Sela says that this plant is able to treat as much as130 million cubic meters of waste water annually. Much of this water is sent by the national Mekorot water carrier system, whose Director, Eli Ronen, told Green Prophet a while back that Israel is a pioneer in the field of new water technologies, otherwise known as WaTech. This type of water, now supplies around 70% of the agricultural water in the Negev region.
Aside from Israel, other counties reclaiming waste water include Spain (12%), Australia (9%), Italy (8%) and Greece (5%). In comparison, Central Europe and the USA only reclaim around 1% of their waste water; which is virtually nothing, compared to Israel.
In the CNN video news presentation, Sela can be seen dipping his hands in virtually clean water, and saying that “this is clean water, beautiful, and is now going to a desalination plant (for further processing into drinking water). The Shafdan plant under Sela’s supervision can process as much as 350,000 cubic meters of raw sewage per day.”
A day out with the kids?
The importance of sewage water reclamation is an education process, and tours to the plant include video presentations in both Hebrew and English that explains the entire reclamation process, including how the finished product is then piped to various locations, including the above mentioned Negev region.
The processing of sewage water, which involves using centrifuges similar to those in nuclear reactors, is another example of Israel’s progress in using clean technology, which has been noted many times on this news site; and water recycling and reclamation as being a very important element, not only in Israel’s future, but in much of the world as well.
More on reclaiming waste water and desalination:
Green Prophet Interviews Mekorot Water Company Head Eli Ronen
Abu Dhabi’s Costly Desalination Plants Prompt Waste Water Treatment Plans
Water Rich and Water Poor: A Tale About Israel and Tanzania