Soil conservation activities in Israel have been underway for over 60 years, beginning with the teachings of agronomist Avraham Kamm, field crops subject teacher at the Kadoorie Agricultural High School, on soil erosion and conservation methods to the work of W. C. Loudermilk (1939 and 1944); the publication of the Flooding and Soil Erosion Ordinance (Prevention) 1941; the establishment of the Public Committee on the Prevention of Soil Erosion and – with the establishment of the State of Israel – the foundation of the Soil Conservation Section, later to become the Soil Conservation Department and Service. In 1966, the department was merged with the Drainage Department at the Water Commission. Rather than being determined by the Ministry of Agriculture, the soil conservation functions have been established through years of research and hands on experience.
The bedrock of soil conservation
A. The protection of field resources such as soil, surface water and flora from thinning and loss of usability and productivity owing to ravages of nature or to man-made causes and from erosion by rain and runoff water or wind erosion due to unsuitable water management, salinization and tree clearing.
B. The restoration of land that has been affected as abovementioned, to the extent possible.
C. The optimization and development of these land resources to preserve and increase productivity and usability for the long term and for sustainable agriculture, for the benefit of the public and users and for future generations.
Soil Conservation Policy
Former Director General M. Ben Meir stated the following in the document titled “Soil Conservation Policy and its Implementation” (1988): "The Soil Conservation and Drainage Department at the Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of the development and implementation of a national plan to preserve soil resources, surface water and natural flora, for the protection against floods and for regular draining."
The Duties of the Department
The department aim is to aid farmers and institutions in the efficient use, optimization and drainage of soil while preventing erosion and maintaining soil quality and fertility; research and development of knowledge, methods and tools to implement soil conservation and the dissemination of knowledge and planning and guiding pertaining to soil conservation among farmers and other interested parties.
The department units are: soil conservation and physical planning, engineering and drainage, natural pasture and open spaces, the land survey unit, mapping, land designation and remote sensing, agro-meteorology, The Soil Erosion Station
The department operates soil conservation planners, agro-engineers and pasture planners in the different Ministerial regions. The cooperation with professional branches and other parties within and outside the Ministry is paramount to the execution of its objectives.
Laws and Regulations
Drainage and Flood Prevention Law - 5718 1957 (in hebrew)