Archive for the ‘Drought’ Category

And that’s a good thing because it means we’re having a lot of it. Sorry to bore you all again but we just had over 80mm of rain over the wekend, bringing us up to a grand total of a pitiful 282mm this season. That means we still need another 250mm more to make this even an average year.

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“The wetter, the better”

Ben Dorfman c.1975

Ben Dorfman was the perpetual gabbai or “warden” as we called them then, in the Sutton and District Synagogue. That was back in the 1970s. Ben was refering to the saying of Ben Heh-Heh in the Mishna (Avot 5:26) – le-fum tza’ara agra (according to the effort comes the reward), specifically on the subject of walking to shul in bad weather.

Back there  in  a wet English winter, he wasn’t talking about the way I felt today as the rain pelted down. We had a total of 21mm of rain today and it is supposed to carry on into the night.

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Yesterday a total of around 30mm was recorded at Tzora next to Beit Shemesh, bringing us up to an annual total of almost 160mm. If we had 13 more days like this we could still get to the annual average of 550mm. It didn’t even rain all day, but when it did it rained really heavily like I haven’t seen yet this year. However with only another month left of the rainy season, the chances are unfortunately slim.

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Today is election day… and it’s raining. These two facts are not really connected, at least not in a cause-effect way unless you believe that the elections are theologically good and that therefore God is sending us rain as a sign of his approval. You know what, there may be something in that, but only if the right guys win :-). Otherwise he’d be angry, wouldn’t he. Maybe that means they’ll win.

For the rationalists agongst us, the connection is that it will mean a lower turnout to the polls and that the centrist and disaffected voters are less likely to turn out. Last election, a whole lot of people voted for the Pensioners Party as a protest against the political process. The pensioners were taken by surprise as they weren’t actually expecting to get in and they ended up doing virtually none of their pre-election promises which were rather over-optimistic. This time, those guys just won’t turn up to vote for Aleh Yarok (legal cannabis party) or whatever.

Whatever, 7mm of rain fell overnight which brings us up to 136mm (hopefully it will be higher when you look at the link). That means we are still over 400mm short of an average year, but let’s be happy for what we do have.

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Australian Fires

Today I read that around 150 people have been killed in the bush fires in Australia. Some gruesome stories and some frightening pictures.

Australia is currently in the middle of a drought and now record temperatures in Victoria on the one hand and flooding in Queensland on the other. On the other side of the globe, the UK is having its heaviest snow in two decades and temperatures way below zero and here in Israel we are having our worst drought on record with about a third of our expected annual rainfall after several previous exceptional dry years.

Is this what they were warning us about global warming?

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A video article from JPost.com.

As usual, after years of neglect and short-sighted mis-management there is a government enquiry going on about how come we don’t have any water.

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that anything is actually being done about it. As I blogged a couple of days ago, we are going to start paying considerably more for water over a base “ration” of 2.5 m3 a person a month.

However collecting more money for water will not magically refill the aquifers. Demand for water is not that elastic and with little public awareness and only twelve inspectors to enforce watering bans over the whole country, even the water authority optimists are only expecting to make up about a third of the 100 M m3 shortfall.

So what are we going to do. We can pray and hope that we won’t run out of water or do irreversable ecological damage before the overdue desalination plants come on line starting in 2010.

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It’s raining!

This what it looked like as I was coming home this evening. Serious rain. In Israel we wait half of the year for this to happen so the first heavy rain of the year is certainly an event. The rain is a bit late this year so we are all hoping that it will catch up now or else we will have an even bigger cumulative deficit. Unfortunately, I am told that about half of the annual rainfall runs off into the sea and is wasted. We love rain. Can’t get enough of it!

Global warming, did I say?…..

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