The UN declared this day World Water Day to remind each and everyone of us of the precious nature of every drop of water. Particularly in Israel and the Middle East we have a strong sense of water scarcity as the region suffers most likely yet another drought year.
Though we all seem to know that water is scarce do we actually behave in a manner that reflects the precious nature of the water resource? Why do we waste a third of the water we use at home, drinking quality water, by using it to flush our toilets? Our ministers and the private sector flaunt high tech solutions like desalination or the Red Dead Canal, to increase water supply, when low tech options that empower each one of us to save one third of their water use and water bill are readily available. Quite simply we could be capturing the water that we shower with each day (also roughly a third of our daily water consumption) and use it mostly that same day to flush our toilets instead of using more tap water.
As simple as it sounds and despite many places like us around the world that allow the reuse of greywater, there are those here at home that object like the Ministry of Health or remain conspicuously silent like the Water Authority. Before the Interior and Environment Committee of the Knesset there is currently a bill to allow for greywater reuse (MK Nitzan Horovitz and MK Dov Khanin). On World Water Day it seems appropriate to call on Minister of Infrastructure Uzi Landau, as the Minister responsible for water supply, to take a position in support of greywater reuse. The Water Authority runs a campaign telling us to save water, but it does not do all it can to empower us, to actually do so, by vocally supporting legislation in support of greywater reuse.
There certainly is a lot more money to be made for the likes of big business by pushing energy intensive and polluting desalination or the Red Dead Canal as the first and best option. On World Water Day we do need to remind Minister Landau that water is precious and because it is precious if we can reuse our shower water, we should be encouraged to do so. By the way it would be good if the Minister would appoint a new Head to the Water Authority. It seems odd that a country that knows water is both precious and scarce to allow one Head of the Water Authority to resign and not even initiate a process to find a replacement.
Gidon Bromberg is the Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East.