Rain harvesting: One private initiative

Rainfall patterns here have been changing over the years, hydrologists have found. Storms are stronger, put down much more rain suddenly and then stop. Those kinds of storms mean much more water running off into the sea rather than being collected in Lake Kinneret or one of the aquifers. One potential option which has not been tested nor adopted into official policy is rain harvesting. Essentially, rain harvesting is like putting a bowl outside your window to catch the water when it falls. One educator, Amir Yechieli, has spent the past eight years voluntarily going around the country and erecting containers on school roofs to collect rainwater, mainly for use in lavatories. He's installed 25 such systems, according to his Web site. The country manages to utilize just one-fifth of the rainwater which falls in its territory, Yechieli states. He believes his project could save individuals and schools millions of cubic meters of water and thousands of shekels in water bills. In addition, the project encourages environmental awareness as the parents and pupils get involved in constructing the system and measuring its results. Potential problems include how to treat the water to ensure it is safe for human use. Right now, this is a very small-scale educational project, but it exemplifies a potential resource in this crisis as well - individual citizen initiatives.