Importing water: An idea abandoned

January 29, 2009 10:35

Water importation is not being seriously considered as a solution to the crisis. In 2004, Israel signed an agreement with Turkey to import 50 million cu.m./yr. However, by 2006, the two countries had set aside that agreement. While Turkey had apparently prepared its facilities for the operation, Israel decided adequate means to transport the water could not be found. While a fleet of ships was considered, it would have taken too long and cost too much to build. The government decided it was wiser to invest that money in desalination plants. Water professionals have said that they had always understood the deal to be more about improving diplomatic relations with Turkey than about the water itself. While Israel and Turkey are still seriously considering a utilities pipeline, which could include a water pipe, water is no longer the main focus. Two things have changed. One, Israel has committed very seriously to desalination. Two, climate change is likely to reduce Turkey's water supply, leaving that country with far less of a surplus, Water Authority head Prof. Uri Shani said recently.

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