binyamin ben eliezer.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The government on Sunday agreed to increase the limit of Israel's desalinated water resources to 505 million cubic meters annually, as the country may be looking at a significant water shortage within the next 10 years.
"It has become clear around the world that we need to prepare for a situation of water shortage and Israel is no different and thus we need to adjust accordingly to rectify this situation," said National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who presented the proposal leading to the government's decision.
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 once the growth of agriculture and the dependence of water in industry is factored in.
Under the terms of the proposal, Israel's self-imposed limits on the amount of water it desalinates on a yearly basis will be boosted from 230 million cubic meters to 505 million cubic meters through additional desalination plants, which will generate 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water and an increase of capacity at the current desalination plants in Ashkelon, Hadera and Palmachim of 75 million cubic meters.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked that the establishment of additional desalination plants be examined.
According to the National Infrastructure Ministry, in 2001, the government restricted the number of cubic meters of water that Israel would 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.