Published on April 10th, 2018 | by James Ayre0
As Israel’s Freshwater Problems Grow, Plans To Double Down On Energy-Intensive Desalination Move Forward
April 10th, 2018 by James Ayre
With the end of the current 5-year drought nowhere yet in sight, the government of Israel has announced new plans to further develop its desalination plant fleet, with the aim being to further build out its delivery pipelines in addition to developing 2 new desalination plants.
With the country’s water resources at essentially their lowest point in the country’s history, the current water stress issues facing Israel perhaps serves as a sign of things to come, as most predictions have projected that rainfall levels and freshwater resources in the region are only going to continue falling from here on out.
The plan to double down on a desalination buildout, without an accompanying shift away from current agricultural practices, is interesting, as it seems to show that the plan is to keep agricultural production as high as possible for as long as possible.
It is notable that the new plans call for a reduction in the pumping of natural springs (as an effort to bring back dried up rivers), and also for the possible large-scale pumping of freshwater into the disappearing Sea of Galilee, the country’s main source of freshwater, located on the border with Syria.
“The shortage of natural water is the worst that has been measured in about 100 years and is bringing water sources in the north to an unprecedented low point,” commented Israel Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz.
Reuters provides more information:
“The lack of rainfall has overtaxed Israel’s desalination and waste-water treatment plants, choking its most fertile regions in the north of the country and bringing calls for government action…The water ministry announced a plan to build 2 more desalination plants to reinforce the 5 built along the Mediterranean coast over the past 13 years. It did not include their price, but similar facilities in Israel have cost about $400 million.
“In the Middle East, one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, water is also the subject of wider tensions. Intense pressure on already scarce water resources could lead to an increase in migration and the risk of conflict, the World Bank has warned. Steinitz said he will bring the plan to the government for approval in the coming weeks.”