Thursday, March 25, 2010

No Water? Let Them Drink Wine

Something like 98% of the interest in Israel focuses on its relations with the Arabs, mostly the Palestinians. The remaining 2% focus on the weirdos, such as the odder part of the Haredi community. For those of us who live here, however, there are other parts of life, too. The water we drink, for example. It's no secret, and hasn't been ever, that while our national water management systems may well be better than those of many other folks, seen on their own they're wasteful, inefficient, and act on the basic assumption that disaster simply won't happen and need not be prevented; better to get on with an endless method of patches, band-aides, rubber bands and crossed fingers.

This week a committee submitted a comprehensive - and devastating - report. So now it's official, not merely common knowledge.

There are two options for the next step. One is the time honored treatment for most committee reports: it will be filed away, and someday, many years from now, it will be dug up by somebody for a spot of "I told you so!" fun. (Or it will get lost in the archives... another topic one might write about...).

The second option is that someone will set about fixing things in a sensible and intelligent manner.

Part of Israel's great strength is that the second option does exist, and is reasonably plausible. Not certain, no. Not obviously inevitable, alas. But it is plausible. Those of us who have been watching this place for a long time know that there is constant improvement on many fronts. Go back and read the old Efraim Kishon stories, for example, which poke fun at the strange ways things get done in Israel: they're still funny, but many of them are no longer true in any recognizable form. (Some still are).

So here's hoping.

PS. The wine-drinking option is no joke. In Medieval Europe the water sources were often so filthy that people drank wine as the only option. Cheap wine, I expect, but not water.


Anonymous said...

Beer played a role also - whenever somebody comes up with numbers it reads to me like they must have been more than a bit drunk most of the time.

Good luck with your water reports - I recently read somewhere that de-salination is having break-throughs and since keep my fingers crossed

BTW our officials seem to take reports for pretexts to meet extensively in nice hotels before filing them away? If yours are not into that you are to be congratulated.


PS: my asked for word verification is "prost" coincidence?

Anonymous said...

looks like National Geographic has all the answers on water in its new issue due to there being a World Water Day ?

Lee Ratner said...

Well, beer and ale was drunk as a water substitute in Northern Europe. Wine was the Southern European replacement drink. Come to think of it, how did Jews get kosher wine when we were prohibited from engaging in agriculture?

Water is a big issue throughout the Middle East, with possible exceptions for Lebanon and Turkey. A few years ago the New York Times had an article on how Saudis are as wasteful with water as Americans are with oil.