Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” organized a three days Cross Border Farmers Tour that started on the 22nd of June. During the tour, Farmers and Mayors from Jordan and Palestine visited Israel to learn from its experience in waste water treatment and reuse in agriculture. The tour began at the experimental site of the South Farmers Association in Kibbutz Revadim, where detailed explanations were given to the group by Joon Zilberman, a senior guide from the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture’s professional guiding service (SHAHAM). At the experimental site, participants witnessed the positive results of irrigating corn with treated waste water (2nd level) as well as the use of compost from the waste water treatment plant’s sludge.
The delegation also visited the Shafdan – the largest sewage treatment plant in the Middle East. The Shafdan serves a population of 2 million people in the greater Tel-Aviv Area (Gush Dan), receiving 380,000 cm of municipal waste water daily, that undergoes 4 stages of treatment to a potable water standard. The recycled water (~120 Million cm every year) is pumped and transferred for unrestricted irrigation of all kind of crops, including vegetables, which are exported to Europe under the strict regulation and inspection of the Ministries of Health, Min. of Environment and the EU food import standards.
The study tour is part of the Implementation plans of FoEME’s “Protecting Ground Water” project, aiming to teach the best available and safe practices of the reuse of treated waste water so as to alleviate pollution of groundwater, to reduce over yield from aquifers for irrigation purposes, to prevent over-fertilization which also contaminates groundwater.
This post is contributed by Youval Arbel, Water Officer at Friends of the Earth Middle East Tel Aviv Office.