a different side of Israel

Tag: Water Shortage

Mediterranean Melt-Down or Wonderful Water Workings?

World leaders in water purification with firms like Aqwise, IDE Technology and others, the Jewish Country still sadly has a fresh water shortage.

This year’s winter rains were nice, but, alas we are still in a severe drought. The Sea of Galilee, a main source of water in the north, has reached record low water levels and what’s even worse, while the Jordan River, which flows out of the southern end of the Mediterranean, could soon slow to a trickle in some places.

Hadera Desalination Facility
Well a massive desalination facility on the Mediterranean seashore, with a network of pipes snaking their way beneath the beach and reaching out far into oceanic depths, should help solve the problem.

The plant is among the largest in the world. It miraculously changes sea water into drinking water. Standing next to the city of Hadera in the north, the third in a splendid row of five facilities which dot the coastline, with the design in mind to provide two-thirds of the Israel’s drinking water and reroute the National Water Carrier. The National Water Carrier is a water transport system which has sustained Israel for 50 years.

IDE Technologies is the company responsible for the plant.
Vice president, Teddy Golan, told us this:

“Up until now, it was a government monopoly regulating all water transportation…Then we found it was cheaper to desalinate water on the shore than transfer it from the (Sea of Galilee) in the north.”

President of the Jewish Country, Shimon Peres inaugurated the facility in a very special ceremony which included a series of interconnected round and rectangular concrete buildings. The thing has been in operation since January.

Water sources have been the source of water conflict for Israelis, Palestinians and other Arab states for a long time now. Well the new desalination plan seeks to solve the problem. Coastal construction roar is not without controversy, though. Enviros are concerned about the impact on ocean life.

You see, the $425 million plant (of the $500 million which Israel uses to connect the string of coastal plants to the nation’s water system) uses reverse osmosis technology, a process which does not involve heating the sea water as the larger plants do. The plant produces 33 billion gallons of fresh water each year.

Well, Rivi Federman, the Mediterranean coast coordinator for environmental group Zalul tells us:

“We are in favor of desalination but not so sure about building so many plants. It should be just one part of a solution, along with conservation.”

In February of this year, the Palestinian Water Authority released a statement saying that they would not explore “alternative water sources” like desalination, before they were given back rights to the Jordan River and aquifers which they claim belong to them, saying they were,

“Unwilling to purchase water at such a high cost … knowing that this water in fact partially belongs to the Palestinians but is inaccessible.”

IDE Technology CEO Avshalom Felber put it to us in protest:

“The more desalination we do, the less we’ll need to exhaust these resources and allow them to get back to their natural state…This has a political issue that is out of our hands, but we are doing our best to promote this solution.”

Water Usage Drops by 13.5%

The government has been taxing the bejoobles out of water and broadcasting scary toilet-flushing sounds with pretty Israeli women warning how every toilet flush contributes to the flushing of the Kinneret into the Mediterranean Sea. Sounds silly, but the sad thing is, it’s true. The good news is that water consumption for July went down from 73 million cubic meters last year to 63 this year.

This is especially good since water consumption in the summer months generally increases. This year, it actually stayed flat. So far, 70 million cubic meters have been saved, and the Water Authority is hoping to get that number up to 120 million before the onset of the winter rainy season.

To get a picture of where we are, the Kinneret is currently at 213.89 meters below sea level. The red line, meaning the lowest the Kinneret can go before being endangered with salt water intrusion, is 213 below sea level. We are, currently, about a meter below that already, with 2 months to go before the first rains can even begin to get here. The final black line is 215 below, at which point salt water intrusion becomes a definite, and the lake becomes salinated for decades, and 60% of our drinking water becomes virtually unusable.

This is why conserving is so critically important, especially now. We have at least 60 more days until rains come, and with the lake going down 1-4 centimeters a day, we’re getting really, REALLY close to that black line.

Word has it that water taxes are even higher for those who live in mountainous areas. Though our wallets are suffering and the government hasn’t really done much to increase desalination projects, our wallets will suffer much more if the Kinneret becomes unusable.

Trust us. You don’t want to see that happen. Here’s a short Hebrew video about how to save another 20 million cubic meters a year by putting a displacer in your toilet.

Dirty Water

Two mineral water companies in Israel have halted the production of bottled water due to bacteria found in the streams they exhaust.

Bottled water dominates the Israeli market, and drinking tap water is considered an anachronistic oddity by most.

This development adds to the national water crisis Israel is experiencing this year, as the Kinnereth lake — Israel’s largest source of water — is continuously shrinking to unprecedented dimensions.

In a related note, Global Warming experts predict that disputes over water is going to be the foremost reason for why nations go to war in the 21th Century.


The main election issues in Israel

Avigdor Liberman

Parliamentary elections are only a few days away, and ongoing pre-election polls are trying to determine what the most important issues are in regards to which political party, or parties, in Israel’s usual governmental coalition formations afterwards will wind up forming the next government.

livniIn the aftermath of the just completed 22 day military operations in Gaza, and the continued firing of rockets and mortars into Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian extremists, it would appear that the security issue is the one that will be on the top list of most voters when they step into voting booths on February 10. The problems dealing with the country’s security, especially for Israelis living in Israel’s southern regions and northern areas near Lebanon, as well as the problem of dealing with Iran and its nuclear program; has resulted in parties like Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitanu gaining so much in the pre-election opinion polls.

barakSecurity is a very important issue, and will always be so in a country still largely surrounded by hostile enemies. But as important as this issue may be, there are many others that need the most urgent attention. And two of these issues are the country’s dire water problem and the economic recession that the country’s population is now “officially” immersed in. Both of issues are none-the-less serious than the security one, and may even be eventually more difficult to deal with.

The water problem, or it’s increasingly lack of, is a very major concern due to one of the driest winters in the country’s history; which follows a number of below-average rainy seasons that has brought the current water in the Kinneret as well as the mountain and coastal aquifers to levels so low that it will soon reach an irreversible state. Apparent lack of proper government attention to this problem has resulted in a state where water may have to be actually imported in large quantities just to satisfy the population’s basic household needs. Much of this problem could have been averted years ago if enough emphasis had been put on building desalinization plants along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. Although a few of these plants were built, such as the one in Ashdod, at least 20 more should have been constructed. An example of how some countries have solved their water problems by desalinization is how Persian Gulf Emirate countries have been able to build beautiful futuristic cities which have virtually all their fresh water needs supplied by this method. One Emirate state, Dubai, even constructed a ski slope within an ultra-modern shopping and entertainment complex. Had Israeli governmental authorities followed this example Israel might now have at least 30-50% of its water needs supplied this way.

bibiThe other major problem deals with the state of the economy, in which thousands of people, many of them engaged in technology based industries, are now unemployed and having to look for any kind of work just to put food on the table for their families. Although the world economic crises, which began in the U.S.A. several months ago, is not of Israel’s making the result has created a recession which is most likely to worsen before it gets better. The weaker elements of society, especially the old, the disabled, and the poorer sectors of the population, are suffering the most as they had virtually no reserves to fall back on even before the stock markets began to crash. Lowering prime interest rates to all time levels (now at 1%) doesn’t help much if one has no money to spend anyway. And Israel’s dependence on exporting goods and services to certain economically stressed markets, like the U.S.A., has resulted in a sharp reduction of cash flow to most companies, not to mention small businesses.

Taking all of these issues into account, there will be a lot of things on peoples’ minds on Tuesday when they vote to elect their country’s leadership for the next few years.

End of Summer

* (en) Israel LocationWe’re quickly approaching the end of August. And even though we had some nice weather at the end of last week, it’s steaming hot in Israel at the moment. Nevertheless, the sky darkens a bit earlier.

Next week the school year begins, and hundreds of thousands of children will get off the streets and into the classrooms. One girl who might not ordinarily resume school is Rose from Netanya, who’s been missing for 3 months, and only two days ago came to the public’s attention. Today we learn that her step father is suspected of murdering her, and this story has a shocking similarity to the murder of Hodia Kedem 6 years ago by her father, as a twisted way of taking revenge at his ex-wife. We still don’t know if that’s the also the case this time, and the whole of Israel is hoping that Rose will eventually be found safe and sound.

On the environmental front, Israel is drier than it has been for many decades, and there is a real threat of entering a state of water shortage. Another consequence of the heat is the excess use of air conditioners and the resulting spread of allergies.

September 1st is a day dreaded by many, anticipated by many. But we still have a whole week to go.

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑