IDF’s Efforts to Save Water

The IDF (Zahal) improves its efforts to save water as a response to the current national water crisis

Date: 18/05/2009, 10:53 AM     Author: Na’ama Rak

As a response to the current water crisis in Israel, the IDF (Zahal), lead by the Construction Department, has joined the efforts to save water. The IDF (Zahal) will take a number of steps in order to decrease the use of water. New buildings will be equipped with water saving devices, such as toilet flushes with a water saving option and water saving taps in showers, bathrooms and sinks. These devices will be added to the buildings being developed as a part of the IDF (Zahal)’s project Moving to the Negev. Whether or not water saving taps can be added to already existing buildings is also being tested. In addition, the Construction Department is testing the possibility of introducing water recycling systems into the IDF (Zahal), following the successful pilot project at the Renovation and Maintenance Center at the Tel Hashomer army base. If the financial feasibility of the system can be proven, these facilities will be introduced to all armed units.

In addition to these efforts, water supply regulators will be installed in showers and sinks throughout the IDF (Zahal). The regulators, which will probably be installed by the units themselves, will start being used in 2009, and by the end of 2010, will be installed in all units. These devices will also be profitable view as their use will save 1.8 million NIS per year. An additional project in motion is a pilot project for water saving innovations, which will be running at the IDF (Zahal) Officers School for about a year. The pilot project is set to begin within the next few months.

Since mid-2008, the water consumption in IDF (Zahal) units has been under the supervision of the commands: the data on every unit’s consumption is published quarterly in the newsletter of the Construction Department on the internal IDF (Zahal) network, and units whose consumption exceeds the norm will be fined. Units who will see a significant decrease of water consumption will receive half of the money that was saved thanks to the reduction of their consumption.

The IDF (Zahal) is also aspiring to become more efficient on the matter of garden irrigation. The current guidelines of the IDF (Zahal), which came into effect in 2005, state that irrigation between months of November and May is prohibited, and that during the rest of the year, irrigation is only permitted between 7pm and 7am. These guidelines will be updated this year and other limitations will be added as well. The use of artificial lawns on some IDF (Zahal) bases is also being considered.

“The awareness of the issue of saving water has increased a lot this year. People understand the need to save water and the fact that there is a crisis. We understood that it is important to invest also in education, in order to change behavior amongst the soldiers,” explains the head of the Energy Saving Office of the Construction Department, Maj. Ludwik Verge. The Construction Center has started working on educational activities on saving water, and the Energy Saving Office has been working closely with educational bodies on a booklet about saving water, which will be distributed to IDF (Zahal) soldiers by the Education and Youth Corps. The booklet will be distributed during the Environment Awareness Week at the beginning of June 2009.