Water, Water, Everywhere . . . And Plenty of Drops To Drink


The israelstreet family continues to grow with readers jumping on board from around the world. We are now read in more than 120 countries worldwide–and on all continents (except Antarctica!). Your humble servant would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for helping to get the word out about what is happening in Israel.

Just to get a sampling of the places where our readers are, below is a list of about half of the places from which readers visited this blog in the last two days:

Sunnyvale, California; Mountain View, California; Rzeszow, Poland; Tel Aviv, Israel; Beirut, Lebanon;  Kiselev, Ukraine; Sumperk, Czech Republic; Greenville, New Hampshire; Waverly, South Africa; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Beijing China; Quezon City, Philippines; Glendale, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; Scottsdale, Arizona; Central District, Hong Kong; Tuusula, Finland; Heimberg, Switzerland; Stockton, California; Ottawa, Canada; Boston, Massachusetts; Broadmeadows, Australia; Yavne, Israel; Baar, Switzerland; Columbia, South Carolina; Singapore, Singapore; Greenville, North Carolina; Sacramento, California;  Guatemala City, Guatemala; Jacksonville, Florida; London, Great Britain; Tirana, Albania; Mid Levels, Hong Kong; Witchita, Kansas; Rochester, New York; Cairo, Egypt; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Des Plaines, Illinois; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Dothan, Alabama; Kirkel, Germany; Thousand Oaks, California; Ramat Gan, Israel; Lima, Peru; Grass Valley, California; Solsona, Spain; Dallas, Texas; New York, New York; Malvern, Great Britain; Lima, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; Santa Monica, California; Galway, Ireland; Copenhagen, Denmark; Thessaloniki, Greece; Islamabad, Pakistan; Kfar Saba, Israel; San Marcos, Texas; El Cajon, California; Atlanta, Georgia;  Obolon, Ukraine; Huntsville, Alabama; Cape Coral, Florida; Columbus, Ohio; Granger, Indiana; Whitesburg, Kentucky; Sydney, Australia; Woodland, California; Aylesford, Great Britain; Durham, North Carolina; San Antonio, Texas; Yerevan, Armenia; Palatine, Illinois; Kamen, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Vancouver, Washington; Kiev, Ukraine; Middletown, Rhode Island; Chaux, France; Baqa Al Gharbiya, Israel; Litchfield, New Hampshire; Piriapolis, Uruguay; Syracuse, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Mumbei, India; Kingston, Jamaica; Chengdu, China ; Haifa, Israel; Brussels, Belgium; Newtonville, Massachusetts; Moscow, Russia; Wellington, New Zealand; Guangzhou, China; Ramat Gan, Israel; Lund, Sweden; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Englewood, Colorado; Reno, Nevada; Hamilton, New Zealand; Guelph, Canada; Jakarta, Indonesia; Poughkeepsie, New York; Neenah, Wisconsin; Bucharest, Romania; Sidon, Lebanon; Tipton, Great Britain; Edinburg, Texas; Quincy, Massachusetts; Ocana, Spain; New Orleans, Louisiana; Flensburg, Germany; Windsor Mill, Maryland; Hagerstown, Indiana; Warsaw, Poland; Feneu, France; Ljubljiana, Slovenia; Melbourne, Australia; Bangalore, India; Arlington, Virginia; Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, DC; Roosevelt, New York; Le Mans, France; Marseilles, France; Sutton, Great Britain; Johannesburg, South Africa;  Taipei, Taiwan; New Carney, Texas; South Pasadena, California; Canberra, Australia; Kirkland, Washington; Rye, New York;  Aurora, Colorado; Davis, California; Laguna Niguel, California; Cortlandt Manor, New York; Penfield, New York; Oxford, Great Britain; Los Angeles, California; La Canada Flintridge, California

UPDATE 6 pm Israel time Monday:

Two attempted stabbings this afternoon–one in downtown Jerusalem as an orthodox Jewish man was targeted by an Arab living in eastern Jerusalem–and the other in Hebron where a 21 year old Palestinian woman was captured with two knives at the Cave of Patriarchs just before she was set to carry out a terrorist attack. Fortunately no one was injured in either incident.


Water, water, every where/And all the boards did shrink;/Water, water, every where/Nor any drop to drink.

“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Like the mariner and his crew in Coleridge’s poem, Israel has always found itself “surrounded” by water, yet not having enough to drink. With the Mediterranean Sea on its entire western coast and the Red Sea at its southeasternmost point, Israel has long looked at these bodies of water as a possible source of water for its growing population.

In recent years, despite intense conservation efforts and technological advances in minimizing water usage, Israel’s need for water has become even more pronounced as the aquifer that runs under much of Israel has become briny, and rainfall has greatly diminished. Most of the country has been under a “severe drought” advisory issued by the Israel Water Authority. While no one went thirsty, agriculture was deleteriously affected, and lawns, gardens, and parks went dry for much of the year.

Thus, it was music to Israelis’ ears when the head of the Authority, Alexander Kushner, declared yesterday: “The water crisis is over.” And while Kushner pointed out that the recent heavy rains had filled Israel’s primary source of freshwater, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to capacity, the reason that Israel now has enough water is not rainfall.

A number of desalination and water reclamation facilities going online are what have turned the “water crisis corner” for the country.

As you may not know, the first desalination plant in Israel began operating just over 49 years ago in the city of Eilat. By March of 1964, four desalination units in the city were producing 1000 cubic meters of water per day. By 1982, all of Eilat’s water was being produced by desalination.

A glimpse inside the Eilat desalination plant (photo source: Flickr, Papa Bear).

Today, Eilat’s water facilities (greatly enhanced over the years) produce about 200 million cubic meters per year–100 million from sea water, 77 million from brackish water, and 13 million from treated wastewater. Brackish water and treated waste water are classified as “reclaimed water.” 

The Eilat water facilities produce four grades of water: pure (for homes and hotel rooms), less pure–slightly salty (for hotel swimming pools), even less pure–more salty (for city gardens and lawns), the least pure–even saltier (for greenhouses and farms in the Eilat area).

After the success in Eilat, more than 25 more desalination plants were built in various locations around Israel, but it was not until huge plants were built in Ashkelon, Hadera, and Palmachim that Israel’s water supply stabilized. These three plants alone now supply 50% of all the drinking water used in Israel. Two new plants in Ashdod and Sorek have now been built and are going online this year and next. They will supply another 25% of the drinking water used in Israel.

Part of the huge desalination plant in Hadera (source: www.water-technology.net).

By the way, as joyous as the news about water is–desalination is not without its problems. Many of Israel’s desalination plants use coal-powered reverse osmosis systems. For example, while Eilat’s facility is producing 8 million gallons of water per day, it is also producing the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions per day as a city of 30,000 people. It is hoped that in the future many of the coal-powered facilities will transition to natural gas. Another problem is disposal of the saline waste which is a by-product of the desalination process.

More than this, desalinated water is expensive. Every Israeli has seen his or her water bill rise in recent years. Nevertheless, given the choice of less water or high prices, Israelis will take the water.

But Israel’s water future is bright. With continued conservation, technological advances (a report about huge new water cisterns being built to store rainwater appeared earlier this week), and even more desalination and reclamation facilities, Israel’s water needs will easily be met.


A daily feature of this blog is the recognition of those of you who support Israel by donating to this website. Each month, your humble servant (or his son) places each name on this wall of support into the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Today we welcome 4 new flags on our wall: Denzel of Dublin, Ireland; Yuko of Osaka, Japan; Josiah T of Auckland, New Zealand; and Yaron L. of Herzliya, Israel.

To have your own Israeli flag, simply follow two steps:

Step 1: Click on the “Support Israel Street! Donate” button in the right hand column and submit your information.

Step 2: Send an email to israelstreet1948@gmail.com with the following information:

Your name (or location):

The donation that you made (for purposes of identifying you):

What you want on your flag:






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