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Israel replenishes shrinking Sea of ​​Galilee with desalination

Israel has begun installing a new pipeline to carry desalinated water from the Mediterranean and fill the Sea of ​​Galilee, Israel’s main reservoir.

Israel, the leader in making seawater drinkable, plans to pump excess production from seawater desalination plants to the Sea of ​​Galilee, which is depleted by overuse and threatened by climate change. increase.


Irregular rainfall, rising temperatures and intensive pumping overwhelm the world’s lowest freshwater lakes. The lake has served as the main freshwater reservoir of the Jewish state for decades.

Israel is now planning to tackle this challenge by reversing the flow of water through pumps, pipes, a vast network of tunnels and national water carriers dating back to the 1960s.

Authorities welcome this project as a showcase of Israel’s state-of-the-art desalination and water management technologies. It also helps to deepen relations with dry Arab countries.

Critics have accused Israel of changing Palestinians from their fair water distribution for a long time, putting much of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip facing severe water stress.

And environmentalists note that more Israel relies on fossil fuels to power it. Desalination plantThe more its carbon emissions worsen Climate change..

But for now, experts say, coupled with rapid population growth, urgent action is needed to support the country for global warming.

Noam Halfon, a researcher at the Israeli Meteorological Bureau, said the average temperature in Israel has risen by 2 degrees Celsius over the last two decades.

The rainy winter has just filled the lake, but that level dropped significantly during the 2014-2018 drought year and could worsen in the future.

Irregular rainfall, scorching summers and intensive pumping overwhelm the world's lowest freshwater lakes.

Irregular rainfall, scorching summers, and intensive pumping overwhelm the world’s lowest freshwater lakes.

“Some models predict that precipitation will be lower overall and will decrease by 10% or 15% in the second half of the 21st century,” Halfon said.

He said Israel’s rapidly growing population will increase the need for new water infrastructure projects.

“Every 30 years the population doubles. Without this project, it would be a terrible situation.”

“From shortage to abundance”

Ziv Cohen, an engineer at the Israeli water company Mekorot, overlooked a work site in northern Israel. There, a crane was lowering the water pipe segment into a trench.

Spring flowers were in full bloom on the lush hillside, but Cohen said his appearance was fooled.

“In recent years, we have all felt a decrease in rainfall,” he told AFP in the lake’s catchment area.

According to Cohen, the 1 billion shekel project (more than $ 300 million) will reverse the flow of previously offered systems by the end of the year. Lake water In all regions of the country.

“Fine water can flow through the pipeline, carry excess water from the central desalination plant and raise the water level of the Sea of ​​Galilee, which will be an operational reservoir,” he said.

Israel, the leader in making seawater drinkable, plans to pump surplus products from desalination plants to the Sea of ​​Galilee.

Israel, the leader in making seawater drinkable, plans to pump excess production from desalination plants to the Sea of ​​Galilee.

About an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean coast, David Mürgey poured a glass of water from the Hadera desalination plant, one of the five in Israel.

Muhlgay, CEO of OMIS Water Ltd, said:

His factory produces 137 million cubic meters annually, which is 16% of Israel’s drinking water supply and is capable of producing 160 million cubic meters.

“We are ready to go,” he said, connecting to the new system.

Seaside power plants, next to the coal and gas-fired power plants that power them, emphasize the contradictions in adapting to the climate crisis through energy-intensive desalination.

“We need to procure electricity,” Muhlgy said, arguing that only fossil fuels can do the job so far.

“For now, we can’t rely on that alone. Renewable resources.. “
— “A lot of interest”-

Israel’s desalination expertise has paved the way for new diplomacy in the water-scarce Middle East and established relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

A man working on the construction of a new pipeline by the Israeli state water company near Kibuturavid, west of the Sea of ​​Galilee

A man working on the construction of a new pipeline by the Israeli state-owned water company near Kibuturavid, west of the Sea of ​​Galilee.

Israel, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates agreed in principle last year on a plan for Jordan to exchange. Solar power For Israeli water, authorities told AFP to come from Galilee.

According to Mühlgay, his factory is accepting visitors from Morocco, and the factory operator’s parent company, IDE, vice president Visit United Arab Emirates.

“There is a lot of interest in Israeli technology,” Mühlgay said.

“If everyone is short of water, bringing water can solve some problems.”

However, the Palestinian situation has barely sprung up despite new technologies, said Aiman ​​Rabbi, Managing Director of the Palestinian Hydrological Group.

Israel has tight control over water resources on the west bank of the occupied Jordan River, and Palestinians have restricted access to the subterranean aquifer.

Under the terms of the peace agreement of the 1990s, Israel sells water back to Palestinians, but the allocation has not kept pace with population growth.

To deal with that, Palestinians began planting crops that needed less water and made coordinated efforts to catch stormwater.

“Of course (Israel) is marketing themselves as follows: water “Exporter,” he told AFP. “I don’t think this will affect the Palestinians.”


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© 2022 AFP

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