(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Water Authority in Israel announced today that last winter 2006-7 only 80% of the average annual rainfall actually fell. In the event that the forthcoming winter will be dry there will have to be cuts in water allowance for agriculture.
Meanwhile, this winter, the rains have not yet arrived and indeed, next week we are expecting hot dry sharab winds.
KKL-JNF inaugurated a new reservoir, which will store the effluents of the city of Acco and local villages. The new reservoir covering 415 dunam, has a three million cubic meter storage capacity. As a result, Acco sewage will no longer be dumped into the ocean, and local farmers will use the recycled water for irrigation. Shomrat Reservoir joins 197 other reservoirs that were built by KKL-JNF throughout Israel and is the sixteenth reservoir in Western Galilee. These reservoirs add about 200 million cubic meters of water to Israel's water system.
At the ceremony, KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler said. "This reservoir and the reservoirs in planning stages, enable KKL-JNF to fulfill its dream: to strengthen settlement in further parts of the country and to sustain agriculture in Israel. In addition, the Shomrat Reservoir solves a serious environmental problem. Until now, the sewage of Acco and local villages flowed untreated into streams and the ocean. This situation was untenable and constituted a serious environmental hazard, which endangered the health of local residents. KKL-JNF, which heads the Israeli Rivers Restoration Authority, could not remain indifferent to this state of affairs."
Local farmers are also very happy about the new reservoir. While irrigation with freshwater can cost up to NIS 1.87 per cubic meter, irrigation with recycled effluents costs no more than NIS1.00 per cubic meter, which means savings of hundreds of thousands of shekels annually, depending on the size of the irrigated fields. The cost of building the reservoir complex is estimated at NIS 22,000,000, financed jointly by KKL-JNF, the Mate Asher Regional Council and the Water Authority. KKL-JNF was also the contractor for the implementation of the project.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Shalom Simhon, commented:"Over 50% of water used for agriculture is recycled water, which is the highest percentage in the world. Agriculture, as the main customer of recycled water, serves the environment, and lessens the pollution of streams and water sources. Using recycled effluents instead of fresh water is part of our water policy."
Also participating in the ceremony was David Yaros, deputy director of the Water Authority, Yehuda Shavit, head of Mate Asher Regional Council, local farmers and KKL-JNF Northern Region employees.
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