The Torah like water cannot exist without the Jews or the land of Israel. Just recently I have started to get back to my academic plans to study earth and environmental science and it will focus on water and earth. Last year I read Seth Siegel’s book ‘Let there be Water’. I learnt about how the Jews turned a small spit of land into a green and lush paradise to help the land of Israel flourish. As a result of this they have got an abundance of water that can supply just enough to their neighbours Jordan and Egypt.
I think it’s time that Britain took an active interest in it’s own water supply and particularly upgrade it’s water technology. Time and time again we have had endless periods of droughts every summer with the government issuing hosepipe bans, emergency water aids, and the shops are always on the verge of running out of drinks and the suppliers have to keep up with the demand for packets of ice.
I have seen this for myself and I have lived through some of Britain’s worst heatwaves like the 2003 heatwave when the highest temperature on record was recorded at 38.5 Celsius. There was also that horrible heatwave in 2018 when Britain basked in boiling temperatures for months. I remember working a summer job at a tea shop in Hornchurch where the temperature was so strong we had to have the cooling fan on all day. I was so hot I got tired from the heat exhaustion. Some of the cakes on our display stand went soggy and melted from the heat!
It was so strong that several reservoirs dried up and all the grasses across people’s gardens and parks went yellow. A village in Wales that was flooded in 1965 to make a reservoir for Liverpool called Capel Celyn became so dried up that the buildings and the roads were exposed for the first time in years.
It pains me to know that an island nation like Britain, with water on all sides for it’s people, can not provide infrastructure to supply an effective and essential water supply. The head of the Environment Agency said that Britain will probably have a water shortage crisis in 2050. Britain needs Israel’s water technology to make itself more efficient at keeping crops watered, provide adequate cooling for vulnerable people, keeping our reservoirs with a plentiful supply of drinking water in a heatwave and changing the way we consume water in a sustainable way. There are lots of options and technologies that we can utilise from Israel.
One thing that I would like to see more of is people using drip irrigation in their gardens to quench the thirst of their plants. In Israel most of their farms use drip irrigation to water their plants. This technique involves drip feeding water directly into the roots of the plants. It’s so efficient and good at saving water that you can water a plant with a litre of water for days at a time without drenching the soil in the plant. With flood irrigation where you drench the soil you lose 50% of the water to evaporation and absorption into the soil, with drip irrigation you lose just 4% of water. This technology is so remarkable that I think it ought to be in every garden and farming community across the world.
But having an abundance of water isn’t just by making it, it’s about being clever with how much you use. That way you don’t waste it. Israel is also really good at saving water by constantly recycling what they use. Israel recycles over 87% of it’s water usage, compared to 9% with Spain which is the second biggest recycler of water. Every drop of water that is disposed of down the drain is recycled and reused in some way. Some it is given to farms for their crops, some of it is turned into drinking water, some of it is transferred to be used by the fire service, and some it is used in manufacturing water products like beverages and cosmetics.
Therefore a solution to dealing with our water shortages is to follow Israel’s example and collaborate with them on it. It will also set an example of peaceful cooperation that will benefit the Middle East. Water shortages also helped with the rise of ISIS during the Arab Spring in 2011 and had Israel been allowed to help these Arab nations and their people then maybe the Arab world would not have plunged into chaos. Britain is already starting to suffer economically and socially because of it’s own water shortages.
Reservoirs are highly recommended by environment agencies to deal with shortages, but the way they are built is costly and devastates communities. This is because they involve looking for potential flood areas that towns exist in that can be left to fill with water and making the people homeless. There are alternatives to reservoirs and they can be built in the middle of towns that can be linked to rivers by underground tunnels that can then feed the water into people’s homes. Israel has been able to cheapen the technology for water desalination plants.
The current amount of water used in England is 140 litres a day, most of which is used in bathrooms from baths, showers and toilet usage. I am fortunate enough to be able to save water in my house because I have a toilet with a dual flush button and I use a power shower.
One thing that may also be useful in improving the water supplies is the distribution of water across the country. A few years ago there was a water shortage in the North of the country while conversely there was a raining season in the South of the country. The hosepipe ban was in place nationwide while the North was thirsty. Britain’s water supplies are not connected nationwide, instead they service the country by one particular regions. To remedy this the water supplies need to build methods for water transfers to different parts of the country in a time of drought. If you achieve this then the hosepipe bans won’t be necessary.