06/17/2011 06:35

Mikve Yair will be the first among the city’s 36 ritual baths to be piloting a special recycled- water system.
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Women using one northern Jerusalem mivke might now be reentering the same waters that they had enjoyed the month before.

Mikve Yair, in the northern Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, will be the first among the city’s 36 ritual baths to be piloting a special recycled- water system, in which the water will no longer have to be changed at the conclusion of each day, according to Alex Weisman, CEO of Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, the firm responsible for overseeing the process.

The mikve staff members themselves are not actually involved in the municipality’s implementation of the system, and a receptionist at Mikve Yair told The Jerusalem Post that they didn’t know exactly when the facility would begin using the new filtration mechanism – but Weisman confirmed that this date would in fact be August 1.

“This is a pilot and then we will see what is the impact on saving money and green issues,” he told the Post on Wednesday night.

For six months, the Health Ministry will monitor the water conditions of the mikve following the switch, and if all goes well, will likely permit other ritual baths in the city to use the same system, according to Weisman.

“We have a problem of water in Israel and if we can save water – and demand of water in mikvaot is a huge demand – this is something that is necessary in a country like Israel,” he said.

In its current state, the mikve uses the same supply of water all day and then replaces it with entirely freshwater the next morning – a huge amount, as each pool requires about eight cubic meters of water, Weisman explained.

Meanwhile, he said, the new freshwater must be heated from scratch; whereas, the new reusable water system will bring back the water at 50 percent of its required bathing temperature and therefore will save significant amounts of electricity.

“It’s a win-win situation, and the cost of the system is less than what they’d be paying for new water plus warming the system,” Weisman added.

Only a tiny amount of additional freshwater will be required, as some water will of course be lost due splashing of mikve users and natural evaporation, but as a whole, he said, “you can clean the water everyday and reuse it so that you don’t need freshwater.”