Israel sends wrong message about desalination

hadera desalination plant photo israel

Construction has begun in Israel on the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant. What about water conservation and recycling?

SDL Desalination Ltd, a company owned by IDE Technologies and Hong Kong’s Hutchison Water, announced earlier this week that it has begun construction on the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant. The plant, slated to be ready by 2013, is the final one of three that are intended to meet 44% of Israel’s water needs in 2013.

For a country such as Israel which needs water and has very limited sources, technically, this is good. However, as Israeli journalist Yermi Brenner pointed out in an article on the Huffington Post last August, it’s more complicated than that. Apparently, over the summer, the Israel Water Authority sponsored a television commercial campaign featuring Israeli actress Renna Raz and having a message that Israelis need to conserve water only until the plants open in 2013. Talk about a bad message. Conservation and reduction will still be needed.

Plus, desalination isn’t a perfect solution. It comes with a slew of pros and cons. While the big pro is having drinkable water, some cons include a high maintenance cost of building and running these plants and possible harm to the  nearby ecosystem by  the waste from the plant. Bremmer investigates the pros and cons of desalination in the following video:


In addition, there have been calls by Israeli environmentalists for Israel to legalize the usage of greywater – the water left over from laundry, showers, and other similar activities – for use in things such as agriculture and toilet-flushing. Since it is estimated that 70% of all water used in the home would be considered greywater, this can have a huge positive impact on water usage.

Too bad the Israeli Water Authority isn’t sending a message about conservation and the legalization of greywater.

Related articles to water in Israel:
Going On A Water Cequesta
Water Bills In Israel Go Up 40 Percent. Did Anyone Notice?

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3 thoughts on “Israel sends wrong message about desalination”

  1. Daryl says:

    Great article. Whatever happened with the concept of filling local depressions in the desert by bringing in water via pipelines from the Mediterranean? I don’t know the consequences or the environmental impacts of this, but the moisture evaporation of such a concept would make arid areas possibly productive again. I remember reading about this in Time Magazine many years ago.

    1. One of the problems is salinity. What do you do with the salt from the sea, and if a pipe bursts what will happen to local aquifers when they get filled with sea water. My bet is that the less we augment nature to fit our temporary needs the better off nature will be in the long-run.

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