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Sewage water from central Israel is being creatively utilized to make the Negev bloom with orchards and vineyards.
“Smart” agriculture is being developed in the arid Negev region to help the desert bloom – and business thrive – to extents unheard of in previous decades. The Jewish National Fund reports that over 1.5 million dunams (nearly 400,000 acres) of land are available for agriculture in the Negev, and 30,000 of them are designated for orchards.

The revolutionary change was enabled, by virtue of water purified in the Shafdan (Waste Purification Facility) in Rishon LeTzion. The water is routed to sandy earth, which naturally filters it until it reaches more solid earth, where it is then stored as ground water. From there, the nearly drinking-quality water is drawn and routed to the Negev to help “make the desert bloom” - one of the most famous national goals formulated by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

Among the new agricultural growths and products in the Negev are olive trees, boutique wines, strawberries and cheeses. The strawberries are grown in a unique manner, hanging above ground, free of insects, over-dampness and other dangers. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are also grown in a dangling manner, obviating the need for insecticides other than biological agents.

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Additional Photos by Assi Dvilanski (asival) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 293 W: 110 N: 751] (5305)
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