The two main technologies for water treatment and the Israeli success
More and more countries worldwide are facing increasing periods of drought that lead to the reduction of their water supplies and force them to take measures like limiting water use for agricultural and industrial purposes and even for private use.
As a result, water recycling and treatment have become a national and economic issue even for countries “rich” with water sources. If the world does not make significant water management changes, water demand will surpass supply by 40% by 2030.
The good news is that water reclamation and desalination are long-time-proven technological methods already in use in countries suffering from limited to non-existent water sources, such as Israel and countries in the Middle East and Asia. The two leading technologies used for water treatment today are reclamation and desalination.
Reclamation – Water reclamation is obtaining used water, called “blackwater”, “greywater”, and sewage, treating it and e reusing it for industry, irrigation, and environmental purposes.
Blackwater is wastewater from the toilet and bidet and is heavily contaminated with human “leftovers” and solid materials such as toilet paper, wipes, hygiene products, etc. Greywater is wastewater from sinks, showers, laundry, dishwashers, showers, etc. This type of wastewater may also be contaminated but not as much as the blackwater. Sewage is a combination of both blackwater and greywater and is very infectious.
The leading disposal and recycling method for wastewater is by centralising it through sewers into a sewerage system and into a sewage treatment plant, where it can be converted into a resource for different reuse such as irrigation, toilet water, industrial usage and more.
Desalination – The purpose of desalination is to remove salts from seawater. The technology separates salts from two kinds of solutions: brackish water, where the concentration of salts is no more than 10 grams per litre, and seawater, where the concentration reaches 40 grams per litre. Desalination technology produces high-quality drinking water from water previously unfit for drinking.
Water treatment in Israel
Because of its location and the lack of significant natural water sources, Israel has historically suffered from water shortage. For the past decade, Israel has revolutionised its water recycling system to provide 25% of its water and achieve water security.
Israel’s desalination program began with a cabinet decision in 2000 to construct a seawater desalination plant on the southern coast for 50 million m3 of water a year. Today some 585 million m3 of water per year are desalinated in the State of Israel. The “Soreq” plant provides 150 million m3 per year, the Hadera plant 127 million, the “Ashkelon” plant 118 million, the “Palmachim” plant 90 million, and the “Ashdod” plant 100 million. As noted, the Sorek B plant is projected to provide an additional 200 million m3 of water annually. The “Western Galilee” plant is expected to provide at least 100 million m3 of water annually.
The recycled water in Israel is mainly used for agricultural irrigation. About 10 per cent is used for environmental purposes such as fire suppression, and only 5 per cent is discharged into the sea.