Irrigation, Drainage and Conservation Systems at the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa and Akka, Israel

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.”   Isaiah, 35:1-2, Holy Bible, King James Version. 

(Spanish version)

The purpose of this post is to share some photos that I took on my Bahá’í Pilgrimage to the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa and Akka, Israel in  October of 2007.  The Baha’i Gardens are world famous for their beauty, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.  Of special interest to me are the photos related to the irrigation and drainage systems, since I teach a course on this topic at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus.   The Bahá’í Gardens represent an example of the application of cutting edge irrigation, drainage and conservation systems technologies.

October and November is the period when the garden staff replants many of the garden beds, consequently a number of beds were not planted, thus exposing the brown Netafim drip irrigation lines.

Some facts and figures about the Bahá’í Gardens:

  • The central zone of each terrace has been planted with Zoysia grass, annual flowerbeds, santolina and duranta hedges, bushes, and pruned trees.
  • The side zone of each terrace features drought-tolerant, low-maintenance succulents, oleanders, rosemary, lantana, olive, jacaranda, coral, and plumeria.
  • The third zone has been left as natural forest that serves as wildlife corridors.
  • Drought-resistant groundcovers such as ivy, juniper, and lippia have been used on steeper slopes.
  • Birds such as blue kingfishers, ravens, Palestinian sunbirds, finches, quail, Hoopoe birds, hawks, owls, doves, bulbuls, and jays; insects such as ladybugs, praying mantises, and spiders; and animals such as mongooses, hedgehogs, land tortoises, and reptiles are all found on the Terraces.
  • Some 70 local workers from all cultures and religions and 30 Bahá’í volunteers from about 12 countries compose the gardening staff at the Bahá’í World Centre.
  • The gardens use a blend of ancient and modern gardening practices, from mulching and composting to computerized irrigation systems.
  • Natural pest control is promoted through the introduction of beneficial birds and insects.

The photos are divided into the following sections: The Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel, The Irrigation System, The Drainage System, Bahji Near Akka, Additional Photos and The Pilgrims.


Eric Harmsen











ADDITIONAL PHOTOS (Some photos were obtained from the Internet)




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Year-to-Date Rainfall and Rainfall Deficit for Puerto Rico

As of May 19th, 2020

White areas in the following map indicate excess rainfall (i.e., YTD rainfall greater than the YTD reference evapotranspiration, ETo).  Note that deficits exceed 500 mm in southern Puerto Rico.

U.S. Drought Monitor in Puerto Rico

For more information visit the pragwater Drought Page

Invitation to submit to the Special Issue: “HYDROLOGY IN THE CARIBBEAN BASIN”, Journal of Hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We appreciate the opportunity to propose a special issue on hydrologic research in the Caribbean Basin. This basin carries a great deal of significance as both a place for tourism and agrobusiness as well as being home to over 150 million people. Its composition is diverse as it is made up of a chain of islands stretching from the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) eastwards to include the Leeward and Windward Islands, and then the Cancun peninsula, the countries making up Central American, and the countries in the northern region of South America (Columbia and Venezuela). Climate Change is posed to have a dramatic impact on the weather patterns for this region with anticipated changes that include longer periods of droughts, an overall decline of annual rainfall volumes, and an increased occurrence of extreme events such as tropical storms and hurricanes. There are also anthropogenic changes due to deforestation and agrobusiness, the latter requiring water from ground and surface water sources, as well as tourism development that put a strain on the freshwater resources. All of the above mechanisms have and continue to have a significant impact on the water resources in the region with potentially vast adverse impacts.

In this special issue we want to explore both the current state of hydrologic research in the region and the focus areas that emerge as the challenges are mounting for the countries in the region and their populations. As such, we would like to define the scope as encompassing as we can where we see WATER at the nexus of adjoining contextual areas. For example, Climate Change is a significant driver for changes in Caribbean weather patterns, which suggest that hydro climatology is one of the areas we seek to address. Another driver is agrobusiness which requires irrigation, especially in view of larger and longer lasting draughts. This has also a potentially devastating impact on subsistence farming because many of these farmers rely on rainfed irrigation. Also, since island nations are, by definition, surrounded by a sea of saltwater, saltwater intrusion into the coastal aquifers is becoming a pressing problem. This suggests the interest areas of both groundwater hydrology as aquifers provide a significant percentage of freshwater supplies, as well as irrigation hydrology. Anthropogenic impacts include deforestation on a broad scale as impoverished populations seek to cover their energy demands by cutting down trees for charcoal production. There is also the wide-scale lumber industry and the removal of indigenous plant diversity for the sake of mono-cultural agrobusiness plantations. This has a significant impact on the ecological health of the region as soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and plant cover and canopies are being dramatically altered or disappear altogether. We are therefore compelled to include the area of watershed scale hydrology in which changes to the processes can be observed as far as the storage volumes, residence times and flow paths of fresh water are concerned.

We remain open to other topical areas if the submission process should yield contributions that are of high quality and fit into the context of Caribbean Hydrology; key here is to try to be inclusive rather than to exclude individuals. We are looking forward to the creation and compilation of this special issue.

Dr. Michael Piasecki
Dr. Eric Harmsen
Guest Editors

For more information or to submit a paper click here.

Land is a Critical Resource, says IPCC report

Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its latest report…