Israel Helping to Quench Mideast Water Crisis

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HADERA, Israel - Oil often dominates headlines, but water is the most precious national resource in the Middle East.

Now, the entire region is facing a water shortage. Israel is helping solve the crisis by using salt water.

For years, drought combined with growing demand depleted the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main supply of drinking water. That forced Israel to look for other options.

"The only solution is by seawater desalination and recycling sewage water," expained Uri Schorr, with the Israel Water Authority.

"We must increase artificially the quantities of water in the area in order to survive," he said.

While the Middle East may be oil rich, it's water poor.

"This region is very arid. Some of the previous wars in this region have started over water issues, and you can see water was even part of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan," said Avshalom Felber, who leads leads I.D.E. Technologies

Felber recently gave CBN News a rare look inside the company's newest desalination plant.

"What we do here is desalination process, one of the most advanced in the world," he said. "Today this desalination plant is the largest desalination plant in this technology worldwide."

About 10 percent of Israel's drinking water starts at the plant. Salt is taken from Mediterranean Sea water through reverse osmosis.

With the water crisis threatening the region, Israel hopes the new technology can meet its growing water needs.

"In Israel itself there's a plan for three more large scale plants that altogether would bring the desalination capacity in Israel to 80 percent of urban potable needs or some 60 percent of overall needs in Israel," Felber said.

Similar plans will be necessary as the world's population increases. Felber believes countries like China, India, and even the United States will call on Israel for help to quench the oncoming global thirst.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Correspondent

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