Israeli Irrigation Issues

The topic of food waste doesn’t usually arise at my breakfast table, as I finish my cereal and my dog slurps the remaining milk. Yesterday, that changed.

photo by sean dreilinger (via Creative Commons)It wasn’t that my Grape Nuts went uneaten, rather that I came across this massive food waste photo in a NY Times story about the effects of drought on Israel’s crop.

Writer Andrew Martin’s piece tackles an increasingly familiar theme for farmers around the globe: As temperatures rise, there just isn’t enough water to go around.

In the article, we learn that the Golan Heights grower Roni Kedar is making do as best he can with water restrictions imposed by the Israeli government:

This year’s cuts were particularly harsh, to 1 million cubic meters from 1.8 million, forcing Mr. Kedar to tear out some of his orchards and rip the fruit off of some of his apple trees, to keep the trees alive but preserve water.

Diminished water allowances are forcing Israeli orchard owners like Kedar to make difficult, Sophie’s Choice-like decisions on which trees should live:

He estimated that he would not harvest a third of his fields because of the water restrictions. “The decision is really simple. You choose the part of your fields that are hardest to get water to and you destroy them.”

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