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Israel drought: minister rallies thousands to pray for relief

long-running water shortage

1 - 2 of 2 posts

robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 29 Dec 2017

With technology coming up short, Israel’s agriculture minister sought an unconventional solution on Thursday to end the country’s water shortage: rallying a few thousand worshippers at Jerusalem’s Western Wall to pray for rain.

Four years of drought have strained Israel’s array of desalination and wastewater treatment plants, harming its most fertile regions and catching the government off-guard, with farmers bearing the brunt.

Agriculture minister Uri Ariel, an Orthodox Jew, has a hand in determining water policy and how the resource is allocated, but to balance the science with the spiritual, he teamed up with leading rabbis to organise a public prayer session.

“We significantly lowered the cost of water, we are carrying out many studies on how to save water in different crops, but prayer can certainly help,” Ariel said.

Several thousand gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s old city, the holiest place for Jews to worship, and chanted a special prayer to end the drought.

However, some pundits were sceptical. Top-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published a commentary that said Ariel should instead focus on promoting policies to fight climate change, such as limiting greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

“Prayer is not a bad thing, but the minister has the ability to influence [matters] in slightly more earthly ways,” it said.,7340,L-5063482,00.html

Israel's meteorological service forecasts that the region will see another dry winter, estimating a 65-percent chance that there will be insufficient rainfall in December, January and February—usually the wettest months.

In March, Israel's water authority said the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a lake and the country's main freshwater reserve, had reached its lowest level in a century.

Israel has however escaped water cuts through the use of five desalination plants built along the Mediterranean coast.

Three-fourths of potable water consumed by Israeli households comes from the desalination plants.

robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
2 16 Jan 2018,7340,L-5071769,00.html

Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz has convened an emergency meeting on Israel’s depleted water resources.

“We are in an emergency situation in the water sector, and we will be promoting actions to cope with the drought,” Steinitz told leading experts on water who offered solutions to the problem.

Among the ideas mooted was increasing the output of desalination plants and reducing the supply of water for public gardening.