Storm produces more wind than rain

PM orders desalination plants to increase production by 100-120 million cubic meters.

December 13, 2010 03:26
2 minute read.
Tree falls on powerline

Wind damage 311. (photo credit: Yossi Weiss)

While fierce winds have caused discomfort and damage around the country over the past two days, there has been far less rain during the storm than had been predicted.

The Water Authority expressed its disappointment with the storm saying, despite its intensification overnight Sunday, it was both shorter and less wet than had been expected.

As of Sunday night, most of the rain had fallen in the Golan Heights, Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said. One hundred and fifty millimeters had fallen there. Another 100 mm. had fallen just south of there as well.

Lake Kinneret had received 50 mm. to 60 mm. and had risen approximately five centimeters by Sunday night, according to authority estimates. But as Schor wryly pointed out, “That means we need another 527 cm. to fill up the Kinneret.”

Schor said the stronger part of the storm had drifted north of Israel and so the country wasn’t getting the rainfall that had been hoped.

Meanwhile, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and Water Authority head Prof. Uri Shani briefed the cabinet regarding the current water crisis. They also outlined the main planks of the two-year emergency plan, which would add another 211 million cubic meters of water by 2014 – mainly through more desalination.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu then ordered the process of extracting more water from the desalination plants to be launched.

“There is an immediate need to increase the amount of desalinated water that is supplied. The quickest way to do so, as was pointed out in the briefing, is to increase the capacity of the existing desalination plants. Therefore, I order the tenders committee to act immediately to increase the amount of desalination of the existing plants by 100-120 million cubic meters per year.

“In addition, I have ordered that the issue of Mekorot building a desalination plant in Ashdod be solved. The head of the Water Authority is hereby asked to present the solution at the next meeting on this topic later this month,” Netanyahu said.

Mekorot, the national water company, and the Treasury have been bickering over the Ashdod plant for over a year. Landau asked the cabinet to order that a decision be made so that the plant could be built.

Landau will now craft a plan covering the next two years and present it to the cabinet for approval in three weeks. Two years from now, with the advent of all of the desalination plants, it is presumed the water situation will have qualitatively changed; therefore the emergency plan is for only two years.

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