Water is life

Owen Harrison, Contributor

I have had the privilege for most of my life never to have to worry about water, where it is coming from or if we will run out. However, over the past year or so, that has begun to change. There is a growing water crisis around the world. People living in South Africa are currently allotted six gallons of water a day. To put that in perspective, the average American uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water a day.

On a recent trip to Israel, water was a constant thread through conversations in various parts of the country. We learned about drip irrigation and saw the Netafim plant; we saw the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. I find water so fascinating as it is necessary for sustaining life and is incredibly beautiful.

Netafim is a drip irrigation plant where they make the tubing that is installed all over Israel and various parts of the world from California to China, Russia and Brazil. Drip irrigation focuses on providing small amounts of water to each plant to reduce the amount of water wasted.

The Sea of Galilee was probably one of my favorite things that I saw in Israel. It was a little foggy, so when we stood on the rocks next to the water, it felt like I was on the edge of the world. The Sea of Galilee provides a significant portion of the water supply to the area. This means that Israelis are acutely aware of the Sea’s levels and are overly aware of the water that they use.

I was in Israel for New Year’s, and I got up early on January 1 to walk three blocks to the Mediterranean Sea. I sat on the beach for about an hour and just watched the waves. Unlike the Sea of Galilee, the Mediterranean Sea is turbulent and powerful. While in awe of the waves, I got to reflect on just how important water is and the power that it holds. Water is necessary for life to exist. It is too easy to forget that our water supply is limited when it is all around us, and it took ten days in the desert for me to remember that.

Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to JNF and their Caravan for Democracy trip that funded my trip to Israel. They take student leaders from all over the country to Israel on a 10-day trip, and the applications for next year are open. It is the trip of a lifetime that provides an opportunity to see the region and the space to engage in critical conversations.

This article first appeared in the Friday, April 13, Edition of The Echo.