Monday, November 20, 2017

Flood Mitigation: Innovative Water Management

The MTDAAT -Ma'a lot Tarshiha Data Acquisition and Analysis Team, which is part of the part of the Park Koren Industrial Management is researching items which may affect our community. One of these items is concerned with Flood Mitigation and Lake Monfort.

The Municipality of Ma'alot-Tarshiha is developing a plan to protect the waters of Lake Monfort. The project will also serve to mitigate the relatively minor, but inconvenient and potentially hazardous, flooding which occurs during the annual rainy season. The project will also help recharge the aquifer.

Urban flooding is due, in part, to the nature of infrastructure. Buildings, roads,sidewalks, parking lots and other surfaces are generally, often unavoidably, constructed with impermeable materials. Rainwater cannot pass through these materials. As a result, it runs off and collects in the streets where it becomes a problem. Just 25 millimeters of rain in an area of 92 square meters equals approximately 2460 liters of runoff (One inch of rain falling in an area of 1000 square feet equals 650 gallons of runoff).

Urban rainwater runoff carries polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, gasoline, engine oil, heavy metals and refuse from roads and parking lots. Roof runoff can add synthetic organic compounds to the mix. Gardens and parks are sources of nitrates and phosphorous from fertilizers, and pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

Construction has recently been concluded on an eco-waterway, expanded wildlife habitat, and a wetland to purify and keep the waters of the lake clean. However, the lake watershed and the wetland are at risk of damage from the toxic mix of chemicals and heavy metals in the runoff. In the event of extreme rain events which climate change will bring us damage will be more serious, potentially overwhelming the wetland.

Fortunately, there are a number of low-tech changes that can be made to alleviate the problem. The idea is to get out of Mother Nature’s way by replacing existing impermeable surfaces with materials through which water can pass into the soil where pollutants are filtered out.

Fortunately, there are a number of low-tech changes that can be made to alleviate the problem. The idea is to get out of Mother Nature’s way by replacing existing impermeable surfaces with materials through which water can pass into the soil where pollutants are filtered out.

The graphic below illustrates one method to prevent rainwater from collecting in the streets. Water seeps through permeable (porous) filler between paving blocks into sub-surface layers of aggregate (crushed rock and gravel) and soil.
These layers filter the water which is then collected in pipes and conveyed to the lake watershed. Some of the filtered rainwater will seep into deeper soil layers and, ultimately, into the aquifer.

Israel is a water-stressed country in the best of times. The Galil is currently experiencing the fourth year of drought. As of 20 November, the water level of the Kinneret is a mere 55 centimeters above the lowest level ever recorded and falls by approximately 2-3 centimeters each week. At its peak, earlier this year, the level failed to reach the lower red line, though it came close.

Drought also effects the amount of water passing through the watershed to the lake. By diverting filtered runoff that would drain away from the lake, more water will enter the watershed than would otherwise be the case. As a result, less water will need to be pumped to keep the lake at an acceptable level.

Here is the link to a video from 2010 by a local photographer Shlomo Sharvit, showing the water in Lake Monfort at a very low level, and the affect of what happened when rainwater runoff began to pour into the lake.

Furthermore as the elevation of the lake is lower than the city itself, it is our intentions to install a hydro-electric generator to take advantage of the force produced by filtered rainwater flowing though pipes to the lake to provide energy to the eco-waterway pumps.
We are diligently searching for grants from foreign corporations and charitable foundations to finance our projects. It is also our fervent hope that some funding may also be available from the government.

We have asked our local residents to please take photos or videos of the flooding when the rains begin. Since we cannot refit the entire city at one time the citizen photo recording of the scenes of flooding  will help us to choose the best places to begin.
We will soon announce to the local residents where to submit flood reports.
We will install the replacement materials at a few sites, then evaluate the results to see if where we can improve the plan before continuing throughout the city.

The "Smart" and Innovative Ma'alot-Tarshiha: An Energy Independent City

Our city of "Ma'alot-Tarshiha" is a beautiful joint Jewish and Arab community of 27,000 people in northern Israel, located in the Western Galilee, about 600 meters (1,969 feet) above sea level. Our Municipality has become energy independent by the introduction of energy efficiency measures that have created economic benefits to the city budget.

In 2013, the Municipality of Ma’alot announced to the world that it was instigating a new project, called “Going into the Light,” administered by the Israeli start-up Juganu Systems. where over 13,000 new and retrofit luminaries were installed replacing all of the old street lights.  By the implementation of this initial step Ma’alot we have not only reduced our “Carbon Footprint "but we have induced other towns and villages in our area to join us. Ma'alot now enjoys brighter lighting while saving about $90,000 US each year in electricity operating costs, capital improvement and maintenance costs on all lighting elements. According to independent testing performed by the IEC (Israel Electrical Corporation), "Ma’alot reduced energy consumption by 75% while delivering even more light throughout the city’s streets and buildings."

At the time of the introduction of the program it was announced that some of savings derived from the LED lighting program would be reinvested into the creation of a "Innovative" research team that would be used to analyze city wide data and recommend additional programs to implement and integrate. The purpose of the Innovative Team would be to research means to increase energy efficiency, learn how to better manage waste and to improve the infrastructure and water programs under the auspices of the Park Koren Industrial Management in Ma'alot. These steps are being done to complete the change for a better and “Smarter” Ma’alot as an energy independent city.

Economical Savings and Energy Independent

In our research, we have seen on the Internet how other cities throughout the world have gained economical and energy savings through leasing underutilized public spaces for photo-voltaic (PV) Solar Roof systems to produce renewable sources of electricity.

In Ma’alot we have leased several Municipal buildings; mainly the city's schools and our Community Center to solar companies for solar energy collection. By the installation of solar energy collection roofs, the municipality has realized economical and energy savings gained from leasing the underutilized public spaces for community solar farms. Furthermore, we have recently instigated a program to lease underutilized parking areas to Solar Energy companies. This will benefit the community not only by producing clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun.

We did research into the posibility of installing solar canopies over parking areas which would contribute to the welfare of the residents. We found that the installation of solar collection units over parking areas will provide shaded areas from the sun and protection from inclement winter weather for the residents and their vehicles.

Parking in a covered facility contributes substantially to increased vehicle fuel efficiency, because it saves; having to cool cars in the summer and heating cars in the winter during inclement weather.

We have also taken strides in further reducing our “Carbon Footprint” and increase economic savings and energy reduction to the Municipality by instigating a “cogeneration program” for the reduction in city bio-mass in our waste management. With a cogeneration furnace, the municipality can improve the efficiency in waste reduction, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, promote economic growth, and maintain a robust energy infrastructure.

It is said that the transforming into a smart city is a long marathon, not a sprint. Without a well-structured strategic plan, you can’t prioritize nor make informed decisions nor can you track milestones or measure success.
Israeli accelerators are full of ‘Smart’ solutions which are being devised and developed in - healthcare, water management, energy supply and transport, for example. More and more of these Israeli designed technologies (apps) are becoming part of everyday life, and increasingly we live in an (IOT) Internet of Things network society, where (almost) everything is connected to (almost) everyone.

Clean and Efficient living

Smart Cities use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance quality, performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to improve contact between citizens and government.

Citizen Participation

Cities need to be prepared for future developments to improve the quality of life. They can achieve this by sharing civic responsibility with residents through citizen engagement activities such as; kitchen table discussions at private homes, online discussion forums and workshops at community centers to communicate and engage citizens in a dialog about city projects. Through IOT apps, that allow for the ready exchange of data, cities can improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs as well as unleash innovation and efficiency as well as new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Conclusion: An Energy Independent City

As we stated in this document we wish to implement "Smart City" solutions, with the objective transforming our municipality into a low CO2, resource-efficient antifragile city. The installation of the LED lights on our streets and in our municipal buildings, was the initial step in our goal to becoming an energy independent city. Since this initial step we have shared our knowledge and experience with other municipalities.
From our experience, we have found that Cities can and need to substantially increase their efficiency in their daily operations and to manage their energy use through the use of ecologically friendly and carbon free methods to produce energy so that they can become true energy independent cities.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Green Line is NOT a border!

For years in releation to the conflict between Israel and the "Arabs of the Mandated powers" (aka Palestinians) politicians an the news media have relayed a false statement by stating  there are 1967 or 1949 Borders separating Israel from its surrounding Arab neighbors. This statement is an untruth.

This false statement which is consistently used in refernce to the "West Bank" and Gaza, infers the existance of the separation of territory by "Two High Contracting Parties" in a negotiated treaty, as ordainined in UNR 242. The truth of the matter is that the Arabs, "of the Mandated powers" (aka Palestinians) have never accepted any of the offers of generously negotiated peace treaties with the "Jewish State" of Israel.

 As to the so called "Green line" it IS NOT an international border. 

It refers only to the Armistice lines agreed to by all sides in the 1949 Rhodes Agreement after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its name is derived from the green surveyor’s pencil that was used to indicate the Armistice lines on the map.
Justice Stephen M. Schwebel, who spent 19 years as a judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague including three years as President. explained; "...modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful (if not necessarily desirable), whether those modifications are, in Secretary Rogers's words, "insubstantial alterations required for mutual security" or more substantial alterations - such as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem.." and in a footnote he added "It should be added that the armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them". Therefore the 1949 Armistice lines are not fixed, as purported by the Palestinians and their supporters. 

In fact, in 1948 The Jordanian Government Army invaded the Palestinian Mandated Territory and at the end of the fighting illegally annexed the “West Bank” and East Jerusalem, a move which was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan. In terms of international law, between 1948 and 1967 the entire area of what remained of the Palestinian Mandated Territory in the “West Bank” was terra nullius, or "land belonging to no one" over which sovereignty may be acquired through occupation.

Armistice lines do not establish borders, and the 1949 Armistice Agreements in particular specifically stated (at Arab insistence) that they were not creating permanent or de jure borders.

In line with the above idea, the Israeli government has officially stated that its position is that the territories cannot be called occupied, as no nation had clear rights to them, and there was no operative diplomatic arrangement, when Israel acquired them in June 1967.

Territories are only "occupied" if they are captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign, but no state had a legitimate or recognized sovereignty over the West Bank, Gaza Strip or East Jerusalem prior to the Six-Day War.

The Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, since, under its Article 2, it pertains only to "cases of…occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party" by another High Contracting party. (The representatives of states who have signed or ratified a treaty. .. the signatories)

The West Bank and Gaza Strip have never been the legal territories of any High Contracting Party.

The concept of terra nullius is well recognized in international law. Therefore the “Palestinians” never had sovereignty over the “West Bank” or East Jerusalem. Justice Schwebel concluded that since Jordan, the prior occupying power of the “West Bank” and East Jerusalem had seized that territory unlawfully in 1948; Israel, the “Jewish State” which subsequently took that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense in 1967 has better title to it as one of the beneficiaries for the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

In fact, during negotiations for the 1995 peace agreement signed between Israel and Jordan, the Jordanian government made no claim to it. And as East Jerusalem came into Israel's possession in the course of a defensive war, Israel was entitled to annex it and create a united Jerusalem

Consequently, the Jerusalem City Council has jurisdiction over building approvals for Jewish and Arab resident in any part of the "Municipal Area".

As to the truth of the issue of LEGAL and INTERNATIONAL Borders issue.
As you may well know we signed two FULLY Negotiated Peace Treaties. The treaty with Egypt on 26 March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords and the second at the southern border crossing of Arabah on 26 October 1994 with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Regretfully the Israeli-Lebanese Peace Treaty, signed on May 17, 1983; by Mr. William Drapper for the United States, Mr. David Kimche for Israel and Mr. Antoine Fattal for Lebanon and Lebanese President Amine Gemayel, failed due to severe and violent Syrian opposition to the agreement.
The violence by Syria and their proxies in Lebanon reached a climax on the 14th of  September 1982 when president-elect Bachir Gemayel was assassinated by an assassin sent by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP).
By refusing to move its troops from Lebanese soil, Damascus effectively torpedoed its implementation, since Israeli withdrawal was contingent on Syria doing the same.
As a result, the Lebanese government repudiated the agreement on March 5, 1984.The agreement was revoked by the Lebanese parliament under the leadership of newly-elected speaker Hussein el-Husseini.

Ergo Israel has TWO official NEGOTIATED Borders.

As to Gaza, in the 1994 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it was agreed that "the security fence erected by Israel around the Gaza Strip shall remain in place and that the line demarcated by the fence, as shown on the map, shall be authoritative only for the purpose of the Agreement"  (i.e. the barrier does not necessarily constitute the border).
The barrier was completed in 1996.  I refer you and the critics to: "Draft Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area", Palestine Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture. 1994-04-26. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 12, 2007.