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The Water Harvesting Project

Dry winters and a growing population have left Israel facing a severe water crisis. Due to a serious lack of long-term water usage planning by the authorities, a mere fifth of the rain water falling on Israel’s territory is exploited today, while the rest evaporates or drains into sewers or the sea. Public awareness about the water shortage has emerged only slowly over the past few years.


The collection of rainwater may provide a partial solution to the loss of millions of cubic meters of water. Amir Yechieli, an Israeli teacher, has developed a simple yet effective system where rain water falling on school grounds is collected in plastic tanks and used for cleaning, irrigation and flushing toilets. During the rainy season, this system is capable of supplying up to 90% of the water required by a school. In summer, the system can be harnessed to recycle water from drinking fountains and taps and redirected to irrigate school grounds.


Schools spend thousands of shekels on water annually, and such projects can save up to two thirds of this cost. The expense of constructing a water harvesting system fluctuates between US$ 20,000 and 25,000 but pays itself back within several years. Because Israeli schools are unable to invest this figure upfront, the JNF supports them with fundraising, so far enabling some 60 schools to acquire water harvesting systems.


In addition to the physical and economic savings, water harvesting systems demonstrate a sustainable use of resources and increase ecological awareness with the students. Green Horizons has developed an educational program to accompany installation of the system in schools. At the theoretical level, water is incorporated as a topic in geography and science studies. At the practical level, Green Horizons counselors visit schools, actively involving students in the system’s planning, construction and practical management. To date, the program has enabled over 4,000 students to familiarize themselves with sustainable principles and develop responsible consumer behavior.


To help additional schools build a water harvesting system, click here.