Israel’s Water Crisis Returns With A Vengeance

10 Cheshvan 5778

30 October 2017


Quote of the Day:

“We have built, are building, and will continue to build ballistic missiles.”

Supposedly “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani


The News on the Israeli Street

Palestinian terror in the last 24 hours . . .

Numerous Palestinian terror attacks have occurred since yesterday ranging from Molotov attacks on cars between the tunnel junction and Al Khader to Molotov attacks on a police checkpoint in Hevron.

The Jerusalem light rail was attacked by terrorists at Shuafat; motorists were hit on Road 443 near the Maccabim checkpoint and at Tikkun and at Husan; IDF troops came under fire at Deheisheh and near Ramallah and on the Gaza border; an IED was thrown near the tunnels between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion; police were assaulted in Wadi Joz; a fire was set at the Yossi Observation Point near Beit Hagai . . . and the list goes on and on.

All told there were more than 30 attacks in the last 24 hours.

The above information was gleaned from reports made by citizens on rotter, rescue Judea and Samaria, and hakolhayehudi.

In response to the firing on troops on the Gaza border . . .

There have been missile attacks carried out by the IDF against locations in Egyptian Rafah. This morning there has been intense air activity here in southern Israel, and the Iron Dome interceptor has been moved into position here in Ashdod.

Palestinian terrorism of a different sort . . .

The agricultural area around Moshav Shekaf was robbed and trashed over the weekend by marauding Palestinians from Beit Awa which is separated from the moshav by the separation fence.

Water pipes carrying water into Beit Awa run through the fence and are supposedly sealed by barbed wire. However, on Friday, hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children flooded through the water pipe holes into the moshav in broad daylight.

They proceeded to ransack the greenhouses and vineyards of the moshav, carting away tons of tomatoes, grapes, and other produce in a theft of unprecedented scale. 

When a passing pedestrian noticed what was going on, he called the police who arrived on the scene–but not before 300,000 shekels worth of produce had been stolen and the greenhouses destroyed.

Finally more than 70 Palestinians were arrested and charged with illegally entering Israel, trespassing, causing malicious damage, and carrying out theft under aggravated circumstances.

But the damage had been done.


Israel’s Water Crisis Returns With A Vengeance

The Kineret is at its lowest point ever. Beset by massive outflows to farmers in Jordan and Israel, the lake is receding and islands have appeared in the middle (photo Haaretz).

The Kineret is at its lowest point ever. Beset by massive outflows to farmers in Jordan and Israel, the lake is receding and islands have appeared in the middle (photo Haaretz).

It seems an odd item to be writing about here in Ashdod this morning as a heavy rain is currently hitting the area. But the unfortunate fact is that after four years of  apparent water abundance and touting itself as a world leader in water technology, Israel is on the precipice of water rationing again.

This despite the fact that some 80% of Israel’s drinking water is being produced by desalination and almost 90% of its waste water is being reclaimed for use in agriculture and landscaping.

How did we get to this point again?

1. The last four years have seen another record drought during which time the government rested on its laurels and failed to see that another crisis might be on the horizon.

2. Israel’s population has been rapidly increasing.

3. There has been an unprecedented depletion of Israel’s water reserves, primarily by Israeli farmers. Part of the farming problem is that Israeli farmers are growing large amounts of water consumptive crops such as cotton and corn.

A cotton field in the Yizrael Valley. Typically, it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton.

A cotton field in the Yizrael Valley. Typically, it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cotton.

In your humble servant’s opinion, point 3 is the major problem. Consider these facts:

*The area of irrigated farmland has grown from 74,000 acres in 1948 to almost 500,000 acres today.

*About 80% of Israel’s freshwater sources are used by farmers.

These facts stand in opposition to the fact that agricultural production as a percentage of GDP has dropped from 6% in 1979 to less than 2.5% today.

So what is the solution?

To begin with, water reclamation cannot be increased past 90% because the remaining 10% is solid waste.

Obviously the water allocation to farmers needs to be cut, but plans to do so by 50% in the coming year were met with an immediate outcry from farmers. The plans were quickly dropped.

Another solution is to build more desalination plants. At a cost of almost $400,000 million per plant, this is pricey and will take years to implement.

A third solution would be to build several new reservoirs to catch winter rainwater. The cost would be about $60 million, but this solution is shortsighted at best. Collecting rainwater in reservoirs would only further deplete Israel’s underground aquifers.

The fourth solution is the one most likely to be implemented first; there must be a decrease, once again, in personal water consumption. No watering of lawns, no building of personal swimming pools, no more long showers, no personal washing of cars, etc.–in short, the return of water rationing is at hand.

And so it goes this morning in Israel.



This entry was posted in News and tagged 500000 acres, aquifers, ballistic missiles, beit awa, corn, cotton, desalination, drinking water, heavy rain, irrigated farmland, islands, Israel, israeli farmers, Kineret, moshav shekef, palestinian terror, personal water consumption, precipice, rationing, reclamation, reservoirs, rouhani, waste water, water crisis. Bookmark the permalink.

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