Ravid Levy – Israel’s Water Industry
From desalination to water reuse. From smart metering to smart irrigation. From leak detection to new sources for powering water delivery, Israel is a world leader in water management. While many developed countries face water loss rates of 70%, Israel only loses about 5% of its water from source to tap. This podcast covers the gamut of Israel’s water industry.
Listen and you will learn:
- Why does Israel’s geographical location present vulnerabilities to its water resources? How does Israel’s geography enhance its water management?
- Why is Israel’s central management of its water resources the right model, at least for Israel?
- What are the concerns associated with installing desalination facilities in terms of costs, electricity consumption and discharge of brine?
- Why is there no hydropower in Israel? What is meant by “negative elevation distances?”
- What is pump-storage? What is the meaning of “the water-energy nexus?”
- How did Israel get ahead of the water rationing movement?
- How are drones, satellite imagery and mini-submarines helping Israel maintain its water pipelines?
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Ravid Levy has some 20 years of experience in almost all facets of Israel’s water industry. He is currently a Senior Director at Wateredge.IL, Israel’s water innovation community. Wateredge.IL was founded in 2021 by the Ministry of Economy, The Innovation Authority, The Water Authority, and Kinneret Academic College. Wateredge.IL creates a network of professionals, entrepreneurs, researchers, and regulators to promote partnerships, problem-solving, technology development and growth in the water industry.
00:00:59 – To disconnect the real the Jordan River system from the Dead Sea which used to be the obviously the it’s the lowest point on Earth…
,Israel has three main water sources. One of them is the Jordan River basin which includes the kineret or the Sea of Galilee which might some people you know based on the on the Bible and some other images may imagine that as a C but it’s actually a pretty small lake compared to you know Great Lakes and other major lakes.
So it’s a pretty small lake but it’s the only freshwater lake and it’s spread mainly or almost exclusively by the Upper Jordan River. Which in turn is being fed by three resources. One of them.
Comes from the Golan Heights, which used to be Syria before 67 and another one comes from Lebanon. And so there’s a lot of and few other smaller strings that come from the different sides including the Golan Heights and so and these are the only sources that in that lake, which as I said is the only open surface water source in the country are actually in the in the immediate region. So there’s already some potential for tensions.
Obviously, Lebanon and Israel are not the best friends, Syria and Israel as well. And so there are, there’s potential for conflicts over there over that resource, which is limited.
But for all, for all parties involved. Now, the two other main natural water sources for Israel are two main aquifers, one along the coast. And the other one on the Judean mountain, you know, where Jerusalem is or the main mountain backbone in the center of the country. And so historically the Israeli wasn’t supply since the inception of the country back in the forties was based on these three sources. The one of the of the earliest.
00:09:48 – There is practically no private water in Israel. All water resources. Actually, it was even.
Expanded to include seawater at a certain point when dissemination became an issue. So even sea water within the territorial. You know, area of the Mediterranean. Is regarded. Property of the public or the state, and that’s allowed new things, very important things one. Is that there are no private water rights.
The there are only licenses that are given by the government. There’s a central body or the water authority, the National Water Authority that was built, that was established in order to manage that resource. For the entire population for the country, and that allowed a very detailed and very.
Strategic planning of how to maximize that resource and to optimize its use for the different applications the other consequence of that. Is that every drop of water practically in Israel is being measured. .
00:28:23 – And the public through the government or the relevant authority should allow you to use that at a certain quality and a certain quantity and times of the year sometime.
. So that’s another part of being able to do anything actually any type of infrastructure not only water specifically the water infrastructure is governed and being licensed by the Water Authority depending on the on the situation. But it’s not the important thing which is very different from some countries.
I think including the US is that the fact that you sit next to a river or on top of an aquifer does not give you any right in the water there. It’s still belong to the public. And the public through the government or the relevant authority should allow you to use that at a certain quality and a certain quantity and times of the year sometime. So if you were sitting next to the lake, even you sometimes.
How to pump water and irrigate your garden, but probably if you’re not a farmer, your farm. But there will be a water meter there and you will pay for that.
Almost as if you were sitting anywhere else and irrigating your farm from the from the network. The fact that you’re sitting on the coast of the lake does not give you any right in the water in the lake.
00:34:47 – Either because there’s a lot of it or because the population can not just afford really pay much more.
The prices as I said are dynamic and the answer is it depends so. Household industrial water in Israel, I think i haven’t done a survey, but I think there are on the on the higher end of prices compared to other, let’s call it developed countries. There are different countries around the world and in some places water is actually almost free.
Either because there’s a lot of it or because the population can not just afford really pay much more.
But compared to Europe and the US I think it’s more on the upper side irrigation water are usually less expensive but also because there’s and we’ll discuss it.
That’s an interesting point which also concerns rationing or not. There’s a big effort of supplying it’s called marginal water, which is both.
00:40:16 – There was a strategic decision to change the water availability and to build another new water resource.
A lot of the mandatory installation of dual flush toilets all around the country and other water-saving means for the homes for showers and perhaps there were increased significant increase of water cost in order to enhance or to make people safe, right?
And sometimes it’s unfortunately, it’s the best way of making people aware of a limited resource.
So then it was, it was going towards there. But then there was a strategic decision to change the water availability and to build another new water resource, which is desalinization. And since then, Israel invested a lot of money, billions of dollars in several major desalinization plants. Actually, all of them.
Yes, today all of them were built in. Corporation or combination with the private sector so they are privately owned, yes.
00:48:46 – The pipelines that runs underground, all around countries and city and the statistics are horrible..
So an open path or a leaking tap or something is high awareness. But unfortunately a lot or the majority of wasted water is done invisibly. It’s done through the pipe.
The pipelines that runs underground, all around countries and city and the statistics are horrible.
Actually, in some cases there are some cities that measure their you know the quantity of water which is being supplied compared to what’s being built to the public for example and they have something between 30 and 50 % of water loss along the system. This means that. For every liter you take out of the lake or the aquifer, you treat it, you pump it. Then only half of it goes out to the path, and the rest just trickle or and gets back to the ground.
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