We have already know how Israel solve their freshwater problem, but as agriculture is a big and main water use department, Israel need to find specific wayS to reduce the water usage in this area.
So what their specific way is? Can only freshwater be used in agriculture? They have find their own 3 ways below.
Promote water-saving irrigation technology
Most of Israel is arid and semi-arid areas with high water evaporation and high permeability. In order to improve the efficiency of agricultural water use, Israel’s agricultural irrigation must reduce the loss rate of water flowing through the soil, the way is to make the irrigation water directly reaches the root of the crop.
In this regard, Israel uses precision water-saving agriculture as a modern agricultural development idea, and government departments, scientific research institutions, enterprises, farmers’ communes (kibbutz) and social organizations jointly carry out research and development of agricultural water-saving technologies.
After decades of efforts, Israel’s drip irrigation technology has been widely used in agricultural production, urban greening and soil conservation, increasing its domestic irrigated area by more than 50%.
At present, drip irrigation technology has become an effective method for agricultural irrigation in arid regions of the world.
Israel’s drip irrigation technology can not only save agricultural water resources, but also increase agricultural output.
Taking the drip irrigation technology as an example, plastic pipelines are laid in the farmland, and the irrigation water is transported to the roots of the crops. By adjusting the water pressure, the water is dripped from the small water outlets in the pipeline, and the crops are continuously and slowly supplied with water.
Compared to conventional irrigation techniques, drip irrigation technology delivers water directly to crop roots, reduces water evaporation and infiltration, increases water utilization to 95%, and can be used for long-distance irrigation and sloping irrigation.
The drip irrigation technology enables the fertilizer to be dissolved in the water, which is beneficial to the absorption of fertilizer by the crop. Since water and fertilizer no longer water the soil between the crops, the fertilizer consumption is 30%, and the growth of weeds between the plants is also inhibited.
Drip irrigation can be controlled by computers, which reduces the farmer’s field managing work.
Compared with sprinkler irrigation technology, drip irrigation technology enables Israel to use brackish water for irrigation. On the one hand, brackish water does not directly contact plant leaves, avoiding leaf burns; on the other hand, the use of brackish water for irrigation in saline soils can dilute the salinity of the roots of the crops and avoid salt accumulation.
Cultivate high-value agricultural industries
Natural resources such as agricultural land and agricultural water are scarce in Israel, but capital and agricultural technology resources are prominent. The Israeli government regards improving resource utilization as the direction of agricultural development and adjusting the structure of agricultural production.
In the early days of Israel’s founding, the grain self-sufficient agricultural production model was implemented.
After the 1970s, due to the high demand for water and soil resources, low output, and low economic value of field crops such as wheat, Israel no longer requires farmers to grow food due to changes in the international market and the actual situation in the country.
It turned to an export-oriented agricultural production model that encouraged farmers to grow high-value crops such as vegetables, fruits and flowers, especially drought-resistant crops such as dates, olives, bananas and cacti.
At present, agricultural exports have exceeded half of Israel’s total exports, exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars for Israel.
In order to enrich the variety of crops suitable for local and especially desert areas, Israel has actively introduced new varieties of drought-resistant and water-saving varieties and achieved positive results.
For example, Israel has cultivated new tomato varieties, which is drought-resistant, high-temperature, and storage-resistant, suitable for growth in arid areas. Use tissue cell regenerated developed bananas which is of good quality and strong disease resistance, making Israel the world’s leading exporter of banana seedlings; through fruit tree dwarf technology cultivates new date palm and banana trees which need less water and higher yield.
In addition, in order to further save fresh water resources for agriculture, Israel has also developed cotton, sweet peppers, tomatoes, olives and other varieties that can be irrigated with brackish water in the desert area. Although the output of melons irrigated with brackish water will decrease, the sweetness is increased and the melon type is better, which is welcomed by foreign markets.
Development of facility agriculture
In order to grow cash crops such as vegetables, flowers and fruits in desert areas, Israel has developed facilities agriculture on a large scale.
The greenhouse has the function of regulating temperature and humidity, which is beneficial to reduce the evaporation of water in crops and reduce the amount of water used in agriculture.
The Israeli government has built a large number of greenhouses in the Negev desert area and rented them to farmers at low prices, which is conducive to preventing desertification and promoting the development of modern agriculture in desert areas.