Water Management

New System for Rainwater reuse invented by Israeli Scientist

Science teacher Amir Yechieli developed a method for collecting rainwater for recycle and reuse

Science teacher Amir Yechieli  initiated a company called “Yuval Mayim”, which developed a collecting system for rainwater.

With an initial capital expense of about $10,000, it takes about seven or eight years to pay back the investment in water savings, but that investment is worth gold.

Another winning aspect of his low-tech design is several small catchment bins, instead of pouring all the rainwater into a huge tank. The smaller bins act as filters. Yechieli also developed a way to drain off the sand and debris from the bottom so the sum result is clean and tasty water.

The Yuval Mayim system is built with the kids, and they monitor it every day.

Beyond the gallons of water saved, the children learn to notice unusual leaks in the system, saving damage from occurring. They even report leaky toilets.

The result of water education hits home to Yechieli, an environmentalist.

“The need for Israelis to conserve water is going down the drain now that we have desalinated water,” he says. “People will just keep using more and more in their gardens, while the CO2 production from desalination will grow steadily. Not to mention marine pollution or the fact that we pour into the sea twice as much as we desalinate.”

Peace begins with water

His projects have peace appeal, too. Yechieli has done projects that bring together Israeli Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Jordanians from schools with rainwater harvesting systems.

So influential has Yechieli been in the Israeli education world that he is now dealing with policy-makers on how to manage the 20 percent of rainwater that would otherwise flow to the sea.

At first, when he tested the waters of using collected rainwater in toilets, city engineers were opposed. They didn’t want the headaches of managing and overseeing new infrastructure, and they worried that there might be some mixture between clean drinking water and unpurified rainwater.

He believes schools are a place to educate and to change awareness. There are now schools in Israel, thanks to Yechieli’s chutzpah, that are installing rainwater catchments and toilet intakes from the beginning of construction.

Raining buckets in Africa

And word has spread beyond Israel. Yechieli flew to Kenya to help build a system to provide water savings to some 600 villagers who had no running water. People were drinking from ditches, yet they had tin roofs that could collect rainwater year round.

In addition to continuing the project with Kenyan officials, Yechieli got funds from the Jewish National Fund to develop a rainwater catchment system at Kampala University in Uganda.

The university spends a whopping $15,000 a month on water despite being surrounded by lakes. Because the water sources are polluted, it takes an enormous amount of energy to purify the water.

Yuval Mayim operates on a shoestring budget, with just two employees: Yechieli and Paul Lichtenstein. They are based in Jerusalem, and no doubt business will pick up as the first rains of Israel’s winter season begin to fall.

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