Israel’s Water Technology and Innovation Lead to Resilience and Surplus

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Israel’s Water Technology and Innovation Lead to Resilience and Surplus

Although the earth consists of 70% of the planet, only 3% of the world’s water is fresh, and two-thirds of it is in the form of ice or glaciers, which means it is not readily available.

The result is water scarcity in some areas. Around 1.1 billion people worldwide lack sufficient access to water, while 2.7 billion suffer water scarcity for at least one month each year.

New data from the World Resource Institute shows that the 25 countries home to one-quarter of the global population face extreme water stress. These countries regularly use 80% of their renewable water supplies for irrigation, livestock, industry, and domestic needs.

Water stress is so volatile in these countries that drought could threaten to shut off their taps, as seen in South Africa, Mexico, India, England, and Iran.

Water stress locations

According to the WRI report, Bahrain, Cyprus, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, and Qatar are the five countries with high water stress. Regions that have high water stress are the Middle East and North Africa, where 83% of the population is exposed to extremely high water stress, and South Asia, where 74% are exposed to it.

The report projects that by 2050, an additional 1 billion people will live in extreme water scarcity, driven by population, industrial growth, and poor water management, as is unfolding in Iran. Decades of poor management and unsustainable water use are causing protests and tensions in the country, which will only worsen with increased water scarcity.

For the Middle East and North Africa regions, the report forecasts that by 2050, all of their population will live with extreme water scarcity.

Israel exemplifies using technology and innovation to overcome its water scarcity

As one of the Middle Eastern countries with an area that consist of 60% desert and also frequently hit with drought, it not only overcame its water scarcity but also produces 20% more water than it needs. Innovation and technology have become vital in helping the country achieve water sustainability and production surplus becoming a global leader in water management and technology.

Water availability is a crucial prerequisite for the country to establish the State of Israel and to support the large segments of the Jewish Diaspora returning to their ancient ancestral homeland.

Even before the country declared its independence in 1948, Zionist leaders had been looking for solutions to address its first and foremost problem – how to distribute freshwater throughout the country evenly.

Founded in 1937, Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, constructed the National Water Carrier. This cross-country water supply network, completed in 1964, is Israel’s largest water project designed to transfer water from the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), the highly populated central Israel and the arid south. In 2010, Israel’s national water company expanded the National Water Carrier to pipe water from desalination plants on the Mediterranean coast.

Of the water redistributed from the National Water Carrier, 80% was allocated for agriculture. By then, it was clear that the country needed additional water sources to satisfy agricultural and domestic needs.

Israel21C reports that in 1959, a father-and-son duo, Simcha Blass and Yeshayahu, began developing drip irrigation technology. The method uses a network of tubes, valves, and drippers that apply nearly 100% of water directly into the roots, thus reducing water consumption used to grow crops without compromising agriculture output.

The novel technology was distributed throughout the country by 1965 after the completion of the National Water Carrier. According to the article, 75% of Israeli crops today use this technology.

The country’s engineers realised that it’s not only about conserving freshwater, which mainly comes from the Sea of Galilee from the north, but they have to find additional sources of sustainable water supplies. This leads them to recycle their wastewater—such as stormwater and treated municipal wastewater, a source that was deemed unusable.

In 1986, Israel began treating and recycling their wastewater, thus reducing the gap between increasing demands and the availability of water supply.

Israel ranks number 1 in the world in wastewater recycling

By 2015, Israel had treated and recycled 86% of its wastewater for agriculture, making it the top nation in the world for wastewater recycling. Spain followed at a distant second place for recycling 17% of its water, Australia at third place (8% wastewater recycling), Greece (5%), and the whole of Europe for recycling 1% of its wastewater (Israel: a Global Leader, n.d.).

The report from the State of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Israel: A Global Leader in Water Management and Technology,” highlights the nation’s achievements in becoming the world’s water management and technology leader.

Sharing their technologies with the world

The report highlights Israel’s effort to share its technologies with other countries through Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MASHAV.

The agency introduces Israel’s innovative irrigation techniques, which have revolutionised farming in arid and semi-arid lands up to storage, transport, and financial solutions. Israel has shared and adopted water technologies, among others, in China, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, Poland, Russia, Canada, and the United States.

It also notes that Israel not only provides large amounts of water to the Palestinian Authority and the Kingdom of Jordan but also shares its knowledge of water management and technology with its neighbours, offering seminars to Palestinian and Jordanian counterparts on wastewater collection and treatment, water reuse, desalination, and tendering procedures.

From the onset, Israel has understood that water is a scarce resource and, therefore, has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and constantly developed technology over the years to manage this precious resource effectively and efficiently.

The report discusses Israel’s innovative approaches to water conservation, wastewater reuse and recycling, desalination, and irrigation technologies. With many countries, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, facing water stress and water scarcity, which is exacerbated by climate change and population demands, Israel’s success and expertise in water management should serve as a model for these nations facing the same issues.


Kuzma, S., Saccoccia, L., & Chertock, M. (2023, August 16). 25 Countries, Housing One-quarter of the Population, Face Extremely High Water Stress. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from

Israel: A Global Leader in Water Management and Technology. State of Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from

Kaplan-Zantopp, M. (2022, April 28). How Israel Used Innovation to Beat Its Water Crisis. Israel 21c. Retrieved from

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