Thank this Jew for inventing drip irrigation

Drip irrigation (Shutterstock)
(Jewniverse via JTA) — On these hottest days of summer – especially when parts of the United States are rationing water – we should thank the late Israeli engineer Simcha Blass for helping farmers figure out how to best harness the water they do have.

Blass revolutionized drip irrigation in the early 1930s, pretty haphazardly. As the story goes, Blass saw a big tree growing seemingly without water. When he dug into the soil, he found an onion-shaped pocket of underground water feeding the tree’s roots. Each drop of water was being stored and sucked out as needed.

Blass made tubing that would release water slowly and steadily through larger and longer passageways, using friction to keep the flow. Blass refined this method and patented his surface drip irrigation emitter. In 1965, Kibbutz Hatzerim used Blass’s creation to create a new irrigation development industry, called Netafim, Hebrew for “droplets.”

Today, inspired by Blass, Israel continues to lead the way in drip- and micro-irrigation inventions. The new products help farmers all over the world, no matter how arid the soil or how slow the water pressure.

It’s also a great lesson in human ingenuity and patience. Each water drop (and every kind action) makes a difference in the life and growth of our world.

(Abby Sher is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. She is the author of “Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things)” and “Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery.” )

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