From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria, Harpaz Gazi, has explained how Israel surmounted the challenge of water shortage in the country.
In a statement issued in Abuja to mark the International Water Day, Gazi noted that the importance of water in the world cannot be over-emphasized.
Gazi however said with the continuous change in the climate, many countries around the world were experiencing drought and a shortage of water.
He added that many communities were migrating and farmers were suffering due to global warming, while also saying that “what most people do not realize is, the water has not disappeared. It is still there.”
According to Gazi, “In many areas, growing populations have less and less water per capita due to crumbling infrastructure leading to massive leaking; short-sighted and self-interested water management, leading to egregious waste, and polluted groundwater.
“In Africa, the main causes of water scarcity are physical and economic, rapid population growth, rural-urban migration, and climate change. In addition to a growing population, agriculture also negatively affects demands on the water supplies.
“The World Bank recently concluded that by 2025, no fewer than 25 of the 48 countries expected to face water shortages would be African. This means that approximately 230 million Africans will be living in water-scarce areas and another 460 million people will be living in water-stressed areas.
“Israel is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and is characterized by desert (60 percent) and semi-desert climatic conditions. Major constraints of the country include frequent droughts, desertification of agricultural land, rapid urbanization, degradation of water quality, and increased water scarcity.
“Israel now enjoys only half the amount of rain it had when it was founded in 1948 when the population was only 806,000 compared with today’s population of 8.500,000 people.
“Israel is leading the world in water recycling; it can recycle 87 percent of its water. The next runner-up, Spain, recycles 17 percent. Despite enduring droughts for years, Israel has been able to secure drinking water, although agriculture is an ongoing issue,” Gazi said.
Gazi further said Israel provided water not only to its citizens, but also supplied water to the neighbouring Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
Israel, Gazi added, does not have a single magic solution in all it has achieved as far as water is concerned.
“Holistically, centralized water management, designed over decades, includes advanced technologies, low technologies, public education, acquiring and adapting any product from all over the world that can optimize the water system in the country. Some of the leading water technologies Israel has developed/adapted and improved over the years include: Drip irrigation – Computerized agriculture – using sensors and automatic irrigation; Technology finding and fixing leaks in the water supply system; Water recycling and reusing treated sewage for farming.
“Desalination – Technologies that collect dew and moist from the air; Seed breeding – making types of seeds resistant to drought and disease.
“Israel has always made it a priority to share its technological advances with countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania, Europe, and North America. The primary address for this activity is the Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV – Israel’s agency for international development cooperation,” Gazi concluded.