Israel’s ‘Rain Man’ conserves school water
Science teacher Amir Yechieli has a side business showing schools how to capture and reuse the rainwater that collects on their roofs.
It was a nightmare: Half of the school’s outlying wall was ripped off in a storm as rainwater runoff caused more than $150,000 in damage.
But science teacher Amir Yechieli, 61 and father of two, saw the disaster as a chance to save the day. Yechieli had studied storm water runoff in the Sinai Desert for a master’s degree. He knows how it flows.
Yechieli figured that the same vast amount of winter rain that ripped the school apart could bring it back together. It could be used to flush the toilets and help better the students’ future ecologically.
“When I saw this, I calculated how much rain there could have been and figured out that the school roof could supply six months of water to the school. I turned to the principal and she said, ‘Good idea,’ and referred me to some funds. I got the funding and the next year I built the first system in the country,” he tells ISRAEL21c.
That was 15 years ago. Now, more than 120 schools later and heading a new company called Yevul Mayim, Yechieli is helping the nation of Israel collect rain.
By day, he teaches science at several schools near Jerusalem. By afternoon, and whenever else he can, Yechieli works with students and teachers to set up rainwater collection systems on the roof. He often does this on his own dime.