Wastewater reuse relieves agricultural irrigation drought in Israel

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BE’ER SHEVA, ISRAEL, Jan. 10, 2012 – Israel still remains one the world leaders in wastewater recycling and a collaboration between local farmers has demonstrated why the country will continue to lead with this application.

A co-operation of 34 farming settlements recently pooled their resources together to construct an effluent reuse system next to a wastewater treatment plant. Previously, the quality of reclaimed water from the facility was not suitable for “unlimited irrigation” purposes.

A MODOtec filtration system, including downstream Ultraviolet Technology treatment, with a capacity of 60,000 m3/day, was selected. A total of 90% of the produced effluent will be piped for agricultural irrigation and the remaining 10% used for irrigation of Be’er Sheva’s municipal parks.

Wastewater effluent reuse is becoming a common strategy in the region, especially for agricultural irrigation purposes, which have exhausted many groundwater supplies in the region.

Since 2000, the use of treated wastewater for irrigation by Israel’s agricultural sector increased from 17% of water consumed by the sector to more than 50%. Regulation has been a key driver, with stringent regulations to upgrade effluent standards set in motion in 2000 by Israel’s parliament.

In January 2010, the government approved regulations that would upgrade the 1992 minimal standard of 20 ppm biological oxygen demand (BOD) and 30 ppm total suspended solids (TSS) to 10 ppm BOD and 10 ppm TSS.

Estimates from the World Bank show that currently more than 40 million m3 of municipal wastewater is recycled daily and is expected to increase to approximately 55 million m3 by 2015.

Growth is likely to be centred around the Middle East region, which lacks natural sustainable potable water supplies and relies upon desalination for its drinking water needs.

Oman is playing host to a large scale water reuse project that will see thousands of kilometers of pipeline laid to connect homes to a new network. Haya Water’s project aims to connect over 30,000 homes, office and commercial buildings to the water reuse network. This will be supplied by a 80,000 m3 capacity wastewater treatment plant, using Membrane Bioreactor technology (MBR).

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- WaterWorld Middle East conference and exhibition will be launching in Qatar on February 6-8 2012 and will include conference sessions on Water Reuse and the use of MBR technology. For more information please click here.

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