Thursday, April 18, 2019


Let's appreciate something that a small country like Israel has done!!!

Israel is a very small country, which has very low water storage, a very large desert strip and very low rainfall. Yet through simple techniques, Israeli farmers have been able to achieve progress in farming and agriculture. Whatever rainfall is available; the water storage management is efficient and suffices for 60 % of the population. 
Israeli water table pulls water from two sources; under water streams near the sea coast, called as aquifers and those from the mountains. Northern Golan hills and hundreds of western small streams near the Kinret Lake provide water to the water table. 25 crore cubic meter water from streams close to the sea coast and 35 cubic meters from the hills is taken for the country. If too much of water is taken up from the sea coast streams, the level of desalinated water goes down. Salt Water is mixed with aquifers, which no longer remains fit for consumption. In order to maintain a balance, excess water stored in Kinret Lake, during rains, is sent to the streams, through pipes. 
Israel is the only country in the world which maintains the level of water, which has been excessively taken away during famines, through rain water during rainy reason.  In addition to these two water sites; Israel has 2800 wells and 150 tube wells which provide water. Some of these have been specially maintained for recharge of water during winter, to refill water used during famines. It rains in Israel during winter, that is November, December and January. Small lakes and bore wells have been especially constructed to prevent water being wasted and run off during winter. 
Kinret Lake or sea of Galeli formed in Israel, on Jordan River naturally, through a rife in a valley. It is the only sweet water lake and the largest water store in Israel. It has been naturally formed by depression in land and hence is 740 feet below the sea level and water is stored here without any artificial dams or bunds. The total capacity of this lake is 400 crore cubic meters, of which, every year, fifty crores, that is 25% of the total requirement, is used up. The total water requirement of Israel is 200 crores cubic meter per year. If the total water is to be consumed by Israel; the water in the lake will suffice for two complete years.  Yet, with a lot of forethought about water lost due to evaporation and in case of no rains, only 25% of the total water is used up annually. What is very important is that, annually 50 crore cubic meters of water is used up and 350 crores of cubic meter is replaced. The water level is maintained and not allowed to deplete. Kinret Lake is significant water storage of Israel and an excellent example of how a limited water supply can be appropriately used. Kinret Lake is 21 kms long and 8 kms wide. Recycled water from domestic and industrial use is treated and 70% of it can be reused for agriculture.
 Thus 15% of the total water requirement of the country is met with. Of the water supplied to Israel, 60% of water is used for agriculture, 10% of water is used for industries and 30% for domestic use. Water supplying industry spends Rs. 10/- per 1000 liters of water to be supplied to agricultural sector. He farmers are given 50% concession for the water required for agriculture.   An Israeli farmer earns Rs 70/- from 1000 liters of water, which was only Rs 18/- earlier. Because of new and advanced technology, this has increased by four times. This plan and strategy can be learnt by all farmers and governments.
          Agricultural water is supplied to the farmers, keeping in mind the type and amount of plants and plant produce. It is mandatory that the farmers use the prescribed quota for prescribed crop. If more water is required, official application is needed for extra water supply. The government then confirms the water requirement and provides it at double the rate. Because of these extreme limitations in water use and consumption, every farmer, based on the type of crop and produce, uses 100% of the water, employing sprinklers and drip irrigation methods. Every farmer has a computer installed on the farm, which decides the water requirement and it helps in giving only the required amount at required time and is not wasted at all.This is not the observation in our country, which affects the crop produce.
          Filter technology is very important in drip irrigation. It is necessary to know the quality and grade of water before drip irrigation apparatus is installed. Filtration technology is very much developed and advanced in Israel. They have prepared standard, long lasting and efficient filters, which take up even very much polluted water, at very high speed. Very thick discs are rotating at high speed, clarifying water and sending it down, while all debris and pollutants float on the top, in the form of foam. Filters are cleaned by forcing clean water from opposite direction forcibly.
 Drip apparatus are manufactured in such a way that they are simple, easily available and requiring minimum after sale service. If drippers are outside the pipe, it is a possibility that they will break during use, as all these things are machine driven. For this, in-line drippers have been invented. Through these specific drippers, as soon as water stops being given, water also stops coming out of the dripper. This ensures that water is not wasted in the pipe or extra water is not given to the crops. This technology helps in saving significant amount of water, as different crops are sown in different media in green houses. Water is supplied many times during the day, for getting maximum produce. Some companies have manufactured sprinklers, which can provide water up to 18 by 18 meter areas. Israel has made eye catching progress in agriculture due to drip irrigation. We can see thousands of acres of farms producing fruits, flowers and straw berries, blooming and waving in the breeze. Drip irrigation is used even for road side trees or trees in pots at airports or common places like bus or taxi stands.
 Water management is done with the help of spray techniques. Various types of sprays like continuous spray, revolving spray, gun spray, low pressure spray, small spray, uni-directional spray are used. A special spray is the one which can spray water up to 160 acres by revolving in a circular manner, at one time. Taps are provided in the main pipe, which spray water in all directions on the surrounding crops. The spray set is permanently installed in the farm and can be moved backward, forward, sideways, as required, with the help of motors or tractors. It is stationary at one end and moving at the other end.
We can use many of these techniques in our country. Especially our Konkan areas, hilly areas, some places in the mountains are similar in environment and water fall to Israel Golan hills and northern region. Israel gets only 700 mm rains in the east while India gets around 3000 to 4000 mm rainfall. And yet there is drinking water shortage in these regions. Our drought affected regions get annually around 500 to 600 mm rainfall while Israel gets around 600 to 700 mm rainfall in the regions, known to have heavy rainfall. Only effective campaigns of preventing water drain-off and increasing water absorption have helped them in supplying water throughout the country, all through the year.
A lot of study has been done in the areas of irrigation and computer controlled drip and spray irrigation methods have been designed. Every plant has been studied, with reference to its type, type of soil required, its age and age related requirements, climate and its water requirements, with reference to time and amount have been decided. All this information is fed to the computer, to which the drip irrigation program is attached. Proper water, at proper time is then supplied to the plants drop size is also thought of, during this procedure. Amount of water required in a span of time, decides the water drop size and hence drip hole sizes.  Right amount of liquid fertilizers mixed with water at right time are supplied at the roots of the plants, which prevents the wastage of fertilizers. Many institutes doing water management have been arising in Israel, because computers with remote controls are performing water management with great accuracy and efficiency, much better than human beings.
Computers have helped in providing controlled amount of water at right time, in right amount for required periods, which has helped in saving water and increasing produce. Computers can open or close water valves, as and when required, depending on the type of crop, soil characteristics, type of climate on a particular day, water leakage, speed of water flow, electricity etc.
Computers can help in giving right amount of liquid fertilizers at right time, so that they reach the roots and are fully utilized.
If water comes at a greater force because of a fault developed in technology, if water forces out from leaks, valves at those points are immediately closed by the computer, saving wastage.
“Save water campaign” should be implemented throughout the year, as it is stupidity to shout about water scarcity in summers. It may not be an exaggeration to state that the next war will be due to OIL and WATER. A time may come when people will be killed for a bucket full of water, or eyes may not drop water for crying.
 Water management should be a subject included at very primary levels in school. It is necessary that every child knows the importance of water.
In a country like Israel, where 10% of our rainfall exists, agriculture has been beautifully developed and then why not in our country, which has been bestowed which such bountiful natural wealth? It’s time to think!
The water which comes out of the tap is recycled and reused almost seven times, before it drops on the ground.
If rainfall is delayed by four days, emergency has to be declared in terms of water availability! Why has this situation been created? Are we not responsible for this? After 70 years of freedom, we still have leaking pipe lines, allowing lakhs of liters of water going down the drain. We have to save water and electricity, which are the nation’s property. We have to save it and prevent its wastage. Today we are sending rockets and using satellites to see if there is water and thus civilization on Mars, hopefully the time will never arise when we would have to search for water on Earth, with the help of advanced technology! Hopefully that day will never arise! We have to awake before that!
Dr Mrs Jaya Vikas Kurhekar 
 Green Blogger