Israel May Turn Into a Desert

Published: November 29th 2010
in Economics » Israel

The Sea of Galilee is drying

Crowded and dry land


In 1948, the Israeli population was only 700 thousand. Today, 62 years later, the Israeli population is close to 8 million. The dramatic increase in the population in three generations, along with a significant increase in the standards of living, has put a lot of pressure on Israel's fresh water resources and natural reservoirs.


The water consumption since has 1948 multiplied by more than 30 and it has some serious impacts.


The water level in the coast line aquifer went down to a critical level, and in some natural underground wells the water is already salty.


The condition of the mountain aquifer is not much better and it is also under a threat of pollution by chemicals, sewage and other negative human activities.


Natural lakes disaster


If you visit the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and the Dead Sea, you will probably be shocked. The water level in the Sea of Galilee is at its lowest level since 1927. The Dead Sea is really dead. Israel built a dam in the southern exit of the Sea of Galilee. The Jordan River is dry and in order to understand that you should visit the famous Dead Sea hotels. In order to get to the waterline in the Dead Sea you have to walk for nearly half an hour from the hotel's entrances.


The impact of the flora and fauna around the lakes is very bad. Many species are endangered and the landscape is changing forever.


Drought in the holy land


Global warming affects Israel like any other country in the world. The summer hasn't left the country and 2010 is considered the hottest in the region since measuring started about a hundred years ago.


In order to reduce water consumption, many public campaigns on the radio and local TV explained the situation to the citizens and municipalities stopped watering public gardens.


Drought tax was also approved by the Knesset and families that use water above their quota had to pay high penalties. 


It's hot, it's dry and the rains don't seem to be coming anytime in the near future. Many pray for rain, but until it comes the solution will be a technological one


Israel's desalination plants


In order to supply its water demand for the far future, Israel decided not to rely on the weather and instead desalinates water from the Mediterranean.


Some desalination plants already operate on some sites along the Mediterranean coast, but their capacity is not sufficient for the populated country's needs.


Four desalination plants are built in Hadera and Ashqelon, Palmahim and Eilat. Two more plants in Ashdod and Soreq won't be operational until 2012.


The country plans to balance its water supply and consumption until 2015, if everything goes as scheduled.


Once the country relies on desalinated water it will reduce using the water from the Sea of Galilee and hopefully the lake will recover itself.


Economic impact


Israelis will have to pay more for water in the future. The high costs of water will cover some of the production of desalinated waters and also will bring high awareness among the citizens as they will have to think twice before consuming the precious water.

Related articles: (Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, water, desalination)

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