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Helping Drought-Stricken California Cope with Crisis

Helping Drought-Stricken California Cope with Crisis

June 23, 2015

Desert & Water Research

Voice of America — Prof. Eilon Adar, director of BGU’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, was recently in Sacramento, California for a conference on how Israel, no stranger to drought, could help California, now in the fourth year of an historic drought.

One of California’s water issues that Prof. Adar addressed is how hundreds of thousands of people in the state pay a flat rate for their water. That’s the same price no matter how much water they use.

Prof. Eilon Adar speaks in Sacramento (Photo: Dan Pine)

Prof. Eilon Adar speaks in Sacramento
(Photo: Dan Pine)

Prof. Adar says Israel treats water differently.

There, it is a national commodity with a value like oil and gas, governed by Israel’s Water Authority. The more you use, the more you pay.

“In my country, when I buy a unit of water to my house, I pay for the water as a commodity,” Prof. Adar told the conference attendees.

“I pay for the transmission, and I pay for the treatment of the water released later on from my house. And this, I think, is the key to success.”

The centralized water distribution system treats the water coming from homes and farms, and diverts it back to the National Water Company which is responsible for sending it throughout the country when it is safe to be used.

What’s more, Israel was the first country to utilize drip irrigation.  It switched from water-thirsty crops such as oranges to flowers for export. Israel has five desalination plants, wastewater treatment centers around the country, and more than half of the water for its households, agriculture and industry is artificially produced.

Read more on the Voice of America website >>

Read about water research at BGU >>