Ben-Eliezer: We must desalinate more water

Nat'l infrastructure minister's plan calls for an increase of at least 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water a year.

By MATTHEW KRIEGER
May 17, 2007 23:27
1 minute read.
binyamin ben eliezer 88 298

binyamin ben eliezer 88 . (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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In order to most efficiently increase the country's water resources, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer will suggest to the government on Sunday that it abolish Israel's self-imposed limits on the amount of water it desalinates on a yearly basis. "The abandoning of the limits on desalination is a necessity for the country as the number of different projects that require use of water will only increase, meaning that the amount of water that will be needed is going to increase as well," said Ben-Eliezer. According to the National Infrastructure Ministry, in 2001, the government restricted the number of cubic meters of water that Israel was going to allow to be desalinated per year beginning in 2002, when the number was set at 400 million cubic meters. This number, however, was reduced significantly in 2006, dropping to only 230 million cubic meters. In association with Israel's Water Authority, the National Infrastructure Ministry conducted a survey analyzing the current level of Israel's water use and concluded that as the country's population continues to grow, the dependence and use of water will increase correspondingly. Factor in the growth of agriculture and the dependence of water in industry, noted Ben-Eliezer, and the country may be looking at a significant water shortage within the next 10 years. That is, he said, if nothing is done to rectify the situation. Ben-Eliezer's plan calls for an increase of at least 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water a year, to begin by the end of this decade. Israel's aquifers are dependent on rainfall to replenish their supplies, leaving them vulnerable to significant shortages should the winter rains be insufficient, as is currently the situation, the ministry reported, noting that the country's reservoirs are a combined 23% below capacity.

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