Despite several problems with the use of desalination (such as high costs and energy usage) and calls from experts to consider other options first, the Middle East is embracing the water-creating technology at an alarming rate. As well as the expansion of desalination in the Gulf States, Israel recently announced that it would be building the country’s fifth desalination plant which – together with the four other plants – will supply 75% of the country’s drinking water by 2013.
The Israeli finance ministry has granted the license for the $423 million plant which will be built and operated by the national water carrier Mekorot. Following several years of drought, Mekorot Chairman Alex Wiznitzer told Ynet that the plants will allow Israel to restore its natural water resources. However Green Prophet reporter Lisa Damast has already explored the problems with a focus on desalination in Israel whilst ignoring water recycling and water conservation.
Desalination is no quick-fix, she explains, although if the campaign sponsored by the Israel Water Authority where viewers were told of the need to conserve water until desalination plants open in 2013 is anything to go by, many do seem to think it is. Water conservation is a much better and cheaper method to ensure that there is sufficient water, as is increasing the utilisation of grey-water as it’s estimated that 70% of all water used in Israeli homes is grey-water.
Indeed the poor water situation in the region (which is considered to be amongst the most water scarce in the world alongside Sub-Saharan Africa) is troubling and an answer is needed soon. Jordan has recently kick-started a campaign to monitor water theft in response to a water crisis in several parts of the Jordan Valley.
The authorities found nine violations and uncovered an illegal water pipe diverting the entire output of the Kafrein Dam Desalination Plant’s drinking water to several farms in the Jordan Valley. Clearly, a better solution is needed in terms of ensuring that the agricultural sector has the skills and techniques to conserve water and that citizens are convinced of the wisdom to conserve water – whether it’s abundant or not.
: Image via Borman818/Flickr.
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