Israel's Water Crisis Deepening

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Mekerot, Israel's Water Authority, recently announced its intent to decrease potable water allocated for agriculture by 40 percent.

Water levels continue to drop well beyond the safe range in the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River Valley, which are Israel's main sources of fresh water.

Water Authority director Professor Uri Shani told the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Monday that a 120-percent rainfall would be needed this year for Israel to recover from the dangerously low levels of fresh reservoirs water. Since such a rainfall is unlikely to occur, stringent action may be necessary.

"Israel is faced with a water crisis, the likes of which it has never faced," Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, minister of National Infrastructure, warned recently.

Meanwhile, Israel is already taking active steps to mitigate much of the looming crisis, including restricting use of fresh water, recycling sewage, and maximizing desalination plants, which pull water from the Mediterranean Sea.

If the Water Authority is able to carry out its plan, farmers will be left with 284 million cubic meters of potable water for crops and livestock. In the early 1990s, farmers had access to nearly one billion cubic meters.

"If next winter is as dry as the last one, we will be forced to dry out all gardens and lawns in Israel, which will save 180 to 200 million cubic meters annually. In light of the fact that the main shortage is of potable water, drying out of gardens and yards will be unavoidable," Shani said.

The shortage is blamed on below-average winter rainfall, pollution, global warming, and increased industrial population in the plains.

Source: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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