Latin American Delegation Learns about Israeli Water Management .
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
A group of Latin American water experts spent a day exploring and learning about Israeli use of water resources prior to their participation in WATEC, Israel’s most important water conference. They saw modern desalination technology, wastewater recycling, water reservoirs and the Hula Valley reclamation project.
The group was accompanied by Ariel Goldgewicht, Director of the KKL-JNF Latin American Department, and Lin Dror of the KKL-JNF International Cooperation Desk. They began their day with a visit to the Hadera desalination plant where water, wastewater and desalination consultant Abraham Tenne briefed them on Israel’s desalination project. “Israel does not have enough water, so we need to provide enough water for our people now and also in the future,” he said.
He noted that 50 percent of Israel’s water resources are used for agriculture, while 5 percent is used for industry. The urban sector represents about 40 percent of all water usage. Israel also supplies water to its Jordanian and Palestinian neighbors. At the same time, there is a need to care for natural resources and preserve the water in the rivers and streams.
According to Tenne, Israel has a 1.8 percent population growth, meaning that by the year 2050 its population is expected to almost double, from 8 million to 15 million people. Every year, Israel uses 1.2 billion cubic meters of water from natural resources, but every year there is deficit gap of more than 1 billion cubic meters of water.
Israel has four desalination plants in addition to the one in Hadera (which produces 127 million cubic meters of water annually), which started operation in 2009. The others are in Ashkelon (producing 100 million cubic meters of water annually), Palmahim (90 million cubic water annually), Soreq (150 million cubic meters of water annually - the largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the world), and Ashdod (100 million cubic meters of water annually).
Including the desalination of brackish water, Israel presently produces 670 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year. “We have succeeded in closing the gap,” Tenne said. “But Israel needs to build a new desalination plant every five years in order to continue to produce enough water for its growing population. At the same time, Israel is also investing in forms of renewable energy including natural gas, solar energy and wind energy plants to power those plants. We are also investing together with Jordan to build a desalination plant on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea which will provide water to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians.
“Water is a strategic asset. If you don’t have water, you don’t have a country,” Tenne added. “KKL-JNF is well-known in Israel not only for its amazing forests and trees, but also for its work in the field of water resources. It has invested a great deal in water recycling and built 230 water reservoirs, along with playing a major role in the effort to protect natural resources and increase water efficiency.”
Read more about the LatAm delegation’s tour of KKL-JNF water projects and see photos