Green group blasts plan to build five desalination plants

"This is a process of privatization of the water economy and will cause an additional rise in prices," Friends of Earth says.

May 5, 2011 04:49
1 minute read.
Desalination plant (illustrative)

Desalination Plant 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The National Planning and Building Council on Tuesday decided to support a plan proposed by the Water Authority to build five new desalination plants in an effort to satisfy the country’s needs for the year 2050.

More desalination plants would help satisfy the increasing water needs of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to the council, a branch of the Interior Ministry headed by the ministry’s director-general, Dr. Shuki Amrani.

The Water Authority said demand for desalinized water – particularly useful for agriculture and industry – in Israel and the PA will reach 1,750 million cubic meters per year by 2050. The current need is just 250 million cubic meters per year.

The National Planning and Building Council is therefore directing the Water Authority to identify possible sites for five new desalination plants, without which Israel will reach a water shortage of 845 million cubic meters in 2050, the council said. The Water Authority also presented plans to encourage water saving during the meeting.

Gideon Bromberg, the director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, slammed the idea, saying in a statement that “the water trouble is not solved – the desalination will bring an increase in consumption. This is a process of privatization of the water economy and will cause an additional rise in prices.

“Prayer alone is not a magical solution that will resolve Israel’s water scarcity,” Bromberg added. “Construction of more and more desalination facilities is insufferable foolishness, because the demands only will continue to increase with population growth. This idea is equivalent to building additional roads, which increase the need for private transportation and do not alleviate the burden in the long run.

Israel can save about 500 million cubic meters per year by saving water, through simple means that will not hinder the consumer, such as using a gray water toilet flush.”

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