Israelis Warned of Water Shortage

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JERUSALEM--Israeli water experts say that the country's water reserves will be depleted by 2010 if it receives the same amount of rainfall as last winter.  

Israel has had several years of below average rainfall, leaving the major source of water, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) , at dangerously low levels.  Water authority officials warn that the government may have to set up portable desalination plants or import water to make up for the shortage.

The head of Israel's Water Authority, Professor Uri Shani, was scheduled to address a national investigation committee Tuesday in Haifa to talk about plans for dealing with the drought in 2010.

Israel has already embarked on a plan to construct more desalination plants and enlarge the capacity of current ones, but desalination is not expected to measurably help ease the water crisis until 2013.

For years, Israel negotiated with Turkey about shipping water across the Mediterranean to Israel, but it never happened because the costs of importing water were double the costs of desalination. 

Now, with a short-term crisis a distinct possibility, negotiations are resuming, despite a recent strain in relations between Israel and Turkey.

Source:  The Jerusalem Post

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