Greywater, water that has been used for activities such as bathing and washing clothes, can be treated and reused locally to flush toilets and water lawns, replacing the precious drinking water currently utilized for these purposes (“Greywater Recycling”).
With the global trend to urbanization and enhanced living standards, the demand for water in cities is expected to grow exponentially. While greywater recycling is making headway in water conscious countries around the world, , advancing greywater recycling in Israel has been and remains a challenge. As a global leader in water reclamation (Israel recycles some 80% of its wastewater with most of it directed to agriculture), the country is experienced in the successful monitoring of centralized water reuse facilities. In contrast, the challenge of protecting public health when water treatment systems are decentralized, has been of great concern to the Ministry of Health , the authority responsible for the authorization of water treatment facilities.
When the initiative was conceived in 2007, there were virtually no authorized greywater recycling facilities in Israel. A variety of attempts to recycle greywater in residential developments and even in a pioneering Shomera project from 2001 (to recycle ritual bath water (mikveh) for the purpose of public park irrigation) did not meet Ministry of Health demands in order to qualify for authorization to operate. The general sentiment in the public was that the Ministry of Health would not, in practice, modify its staunch stance on the topic. Nonetheless, given the water crisis prevailing in the country and the need for water conservation solutions, the need for short and long term water conservation measures, was apparent.
Shomera, together with strategic partners, understood that to move greywater recycling forward in real terms, it would be important to set a precedent of greywater recycling systems in the urban environment, which would receive Ministry of Health approval to operate. Moreover, it was clear that to reach that objective, cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Health from the outset, was optimal.