Tag: Water

Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne Diseases


“How can diseases spread through water supplies?”


Diseases try to transmit to new organisms as much as possible. Ones that do so through water are called Waterborne Diseases.

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

Elad Orian, Co-founder of Comet-ME

We here at Isaac’s Science Blog are pleased to be hosting our sixth professional interview, this time with Elad Orian! Elad is the co-founder of Comet-ME, an Israeli-Palestinian organization providing renewable energy and clean water services to off-grid communities in some of the most marginalized parts of the Palestinian Territories using environmentally and socially sustainable methods.

1. Tell us about yourself and your educational/professional background.

I studied physics and later environmental science/policy. I’ve been doing my current work for 10 years now.

2. What inspired you to work in energy?

I’m a political activist along with my partner (Noam Dotan). We started thinking about something more proactive and using our abilities and know-how and energy was a very natural conclusion

3. Why did you help found Comet-ME

We actually started doing this type of work before we officially established Comet. It just so happened that these activities were relatively successful and grew really fast to the point that we needed an organization/framework that can handle this. As a result, Comet-ME was born.

4. Tell us about some of the challenges that of the Palestinian residents that you worked with.

We work with Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank. In the Oslo accords the West Bank was divided into three areas (A under control of the Palestinian Authority, B under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control, and C, which happens to be the majority of West Bank under control of the Israeli government). We work in an area where the Palestinian Authority cannot provide electricity/water to communities. There are communities in A/B that have no electricity but we made a strategic decision to not replace the position Palestinian Authority.

5. What does the life-cycle of an average project look like?

One of the first things we do is to build trust with the community. We know what we do and why we do it, but the people we work with need proof. It is important that we go into a community when we know that we have the funding. We are lucky to have so many long-term donors trust us so when we start a project/budget cycle we don’t know where we are going to work because we need to do a survey of the community, conditions of each place, and then we do a detailed design of system and then we will purchase all the equipment that is required. There are some long-lead items so we do work in houses of the villagers and then once we have everything we install it. Once the installation is finished the hard work is started when service is provided. Because Comet is about providing service and we make sure service is running for a long period of time. In this way, we are like a utility. Every system brings service.

6. What technology does Comet-ME use to help communities establish energy independence?

We always use solar systems. Sometimes wind/diesel hybrids. Our systems can be designed to work from 1 family up to 40/50 families.

7. Tell us about your water program

After a few years of working exclusively with electricity, we decided that we had the organizational capacity to do something else. This is a very different program since many of them already have water, just not enough. Our system is a pump attached to a filter to obtain clean water, it’s a simple single-family system that collects rainwater and pumps it. We developed a system that pumps and filters rainwater using electricity when the batteries are full. There is also a stewardship component where water quality is sampled from all the users on a regular sample schedule to make sure systems are doing what they are meant to do.

8. Is Comet-ME looking at the Water-Energy Nexus and if so how is it?

Very much. Our water systems are dependent on our electricity systems for operation.

9. Have you received any interest from universities on the work that you do?

We have some collaborations with some universities. We also have a few students that have written master’s degrees with us. We don’t do much advertisement so we’re not really a household name.

10. Is Comet-ME looking at how to deal with climate change resilience?

Although we don’t title it, our work is directly tied with climate resilience due to providing an independent source of energy

11. How do you see your organization fit into a long-term Israeli-Palestinian peace partnership?

If there is a peace agreement signed and the West Bank becomes a Palestinian state then we would gladly hand over systems to a Palestinian organization to handle it. I don’t think it would be a problem.

12. Do you think that the Comet-ME model has any application outside of the Palestinian territories?

There are many components that certainly are and some that are idiosyncratic to conditions/politics of the West Bank.

13. What can someone do to help out with your organization?

One can always donate money, also if you’re technically inclined and interested in such issues we do have volunteers from time to time. Feel free to reach out and join us!


So there you have it! Elad, we are very grateful for giving us your time to talk about this very important work. Your organization’s work is a textbook example of how people can apply their scientific knowledge to make the world a better place.


If you would like to connect with Elad and Come-ME, you can find their website here and their facebook page here.


Image credit DW.com

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting


“How can we harvest rainwater for later use?”


With the advent of climate change, water is becoming more and more scarce in many regions of the world. As a result, humans are looking at new ways to become more resilient to such droughts. One way to approach this is to look at a fresh and semi-continual source of water, rain. By using Rainwater Harvesting, humans can take in a source of water that is usually wasted. Rainwater harvesting is popular in water-starved areas of the world such as the Middle East and South Asia.


Image credit https://images.haarets.co.il/

How the Increased Frequency of Droughts Will Put Pressure on City Water Infrastructure

How the Increased Frequency of Droughts Will Put Pressure on City Water Infrastructure

How the Increased Frequency of Droughts Will Put Pressure on City Water Infrastructure


“How will the increased frequency of droughts add stress to a city’s water infrastructure?”


As the climate is changing, more and more cities around the world will have to deal with the effects of drought. This means that less water will be available for municipal services, placing a strain on infrastructure. This effect can already be seen in cities around the world, whether it be Cape Town’s Day Zero crisis or Chennai running out of water. This is How the Increased Frequency of Droughts Will Put Pressure on a City’s Water Infrastructure.

Day Zero

Day Zero

Day Zero


“What happens when a municipality runs out of water?”

Around the world, increasing temperatures, population, and levels of consumption are putting a strain on municipal water supplies. In fact, many of these areas can now even predict the day that they run out of water. To avoid this Day Zero, municipalities need to consider resilience strategies in regards to their water supplies, and even take measures as drastic as Cape Town’s.

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises

How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises


“How will there be more water crises because of Climate Change?”

With the advent of the changing climate, almost every environmental variable will be affected. In particular, areas which have dry climates will become dryer. This means less water will be produced, leading to shortages. Such shortages will cause haphazard issues for infrastructure systems designed for greater supplies of water, resulting in difficult tensions. An illustration of this can be found in Cape Town, South Africa, where a dry spell caused the municipality to enact draconian water supply restrictions. This is How Climate Change Will Lead to Water Crises.

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises

Why We Can Learn From Cape Town in Solving Water Crises


“How did the city of Cape Town get itself out of a water crisis and how can other cities learn from it?”

At the beginning of 2018, the city of Cape Town was facing a devastating problem. Given the current supply of water and usage rates, the city was projected to run out of water within the year. Realizing the direness of the scenario, the city government issued a dire warning. If the water in the damns became too low, the municipality would shut off the taps on a day labeled “day zero”. To ensure citizens would cooperate, the city placed a 50 liter/day limit to water usage (for reference, the average daily per capita use in California was 321 liters), and anyone who went over would be heavily fined or even have their water shut down. Residents took heed, and began rationing water and using it as efficiently as possible. As a result, Cape Town was able to lower its water usage, achieve sustainability and avoid day zero. As droughts become a larger problem in the future with climate change, cities should learn from Cape Town in how to grapple with these problems.

Image credit https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/dc9d7d7eedd10162b4e756485bae9415d5da324f/0_120_4000_2400/master/4000.jpg?width=700&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=f5c18ca5f9d7c0f0d3ecb421f24d1136

Why Building Code Will Need to Adapt to an Increase in Rainwater

Why Building Code Will Need to Adapt to an Increase in Rainwater

Why Building Code Will Need to Adapt to an Increase in Rainwater


“Why will building codes need to consider an increase in future rainwater?”

With the advent of climate change, there will be an increase of rainwater. And since building codes have been designed for prior levels of rain, current standards will not suffice. This is Why Building Code Will Need to Adapt to an Increase in Rainwater.

Why You Should Stockpile Water in Case of a Power Outage

Why You Should Stockpile Water in Case of a Power Outage

Why You Should Stockpile Water in Case of a Power Outage


“Why should you keep spare water in case of a blackout?”

Because of interdependencies, when the electricity goes out, it also takes out other infrastructure with it. When this outage is large scale, water supplies can also be affected. If residents do not have any backups, then they could be without water for days. This is Why You Should Stockpile Water in Case of a Power Outage.