WATER CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Context: The Jal Shakti Minister represented India at the WATEC Conference that was held in Israel in November 2019.
- The Water Technology and Environment Control (WATEC) 2019, is being held for the eighth time in Israel
- WATEC conference helps to get updates on technologies related to water and environmental management. Several countries participated in the conference showcasing their revolutionary technologies and solutions.
- This year, the theme is “Water Stewardship and Innovation – driving global leadership in the responsible planning management, and protection of water.”
ISRAEL- THE LEADER IN WATER CONSERVATION.
- Israel is considered a global leader in all segments of the water industry, from production, transport, purification, monitoring and more.
- One major innovation that has helped Israel mitigate its water crisis is drip irrigation, an agricultural irrigation method pioneered in Israel and widely used in agriculture throughout the world.
- In addition to drip irrigation, Israel also leads in wastewater management and utilization that is largely responsible for saving the country’s agricultural industry.
- With improved treatment techniques and incentives available to farmers to switch to reclaimed sewage water, Israel has become the world’s leader in water reuse — recycling approximately 80% of its water
- Israel is one of the only countries in the world that has created such an efficient infrastructure of water supply and conservation that it can now function without rain.
- Desalinization plants are a key to achieve this, accompanied by rather extreme rationing, low flow everything, and high public awareness of the value of every drop.
- It has a sophisticated network of over 250 storage tanks and large reservoirs provide water during the dry, hot summer months.
- Exports of water-saving Israeli technologies exceeds 1.5 billion US Dollars a year, as per sources
- Israel is opening up about its expertise in water management, and it’s the intellectual capital when it comes to water solutions.
WATER CRISIS IN INDIA
- According to a report by Niti Aayog released in 2018, India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history.
- The study noted that demand for potable water will be more than its supply in 2030 if necessary steps are not taken.
- It also mentioned that in 2020, Indian cities including Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru will run out of groundwater.
However, Israel has an inspiring story of from being a water-deficient country to becoming a water-exporting country that India needs to take inspiration from.
Israel was once finding it hard to fulfill its own water needs has made such advancements that more than 150 countries in the world are now looking to replicate the successful Israel model in the area of water management.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNT FROM ISRAEL.
- One of the major factors that contributed to Israel from being a water-deficient country to becoming a water-rich country has been mastering the science and art of desalination.
- Desalination is a process where seawater is processed and made drinkable.
- The long-term investment in desalination apparatus and innovation paid off for the Israel and has made it a global leader in the use of this technology.
- Almost 80 per cent of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalination.
- The world’s biggest reverse-osmosis desalination plant is also installed in Israel.
- Undoubtedly, desalination is an expensive technique and has the potential to raise the cost of water. However, Israel, with the advancement of this technique was able to bring down the prices of water to a third of what it used to cost in the 1990s.
- However, India needs to keep in mind that desalination is not just expensive but consumes a lot of power.
- Desalination also produces a byproduct known as brine which is thrown back into the seas.
- According to a UN University report, the brine depletes the oxygen of seas and is a threat to the existence of marine life.
- India can also learn from Israel how it treats its wastewater.
- Nearly 80 per cent of Israel’s wastewater is recycled and reused.
- The reused water greatly contributes to the country’s agriculture, which uses a third of the wastewater for irrigation.
- Israel is the founder of this technology which has helped it immensely in agriculture and conserving water.
- Many countries are following Israel’s model on drip irrigation in the agricultural sector.
- In fact, Israel is helping India in order to effectively use this technology in farming and mitigate its water crisis.
EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGNING ON WATER CONSERVATION
- Israelis became more conscious about the scarcity of water when television advertisements by popular celebrities started highlighting it.
- In one of the ads, it was shown how the skin of a female is cracking up due to lack of water in her body.
- Soon, water conservation became fashionable in Israel with parents forcing their children to take small showers. Due to these campaigning, water consumption in households in Israel fell by 18 per cent.
- India also needs a robust campaign on water conservation.
- India’s water crisis is oftenattributed to lack of government planning, increased corporate privatization, industrial and human waste and government corruption. Whatever the reason India needs solutions now.
- Children in 100 million homes in the country lack water, and one out of every two children are malnourished.
- Environmental justice needs to be restored to Indiaso that families can raise their children with dignity, and providing water to communities is one such way to best ensure that chance.
QUESTION: What urgent steps are needed to address the looming water crisis of the country? Discuss in the light of Israel’s technology in water management. (20 marks).