Buried in this item is some really good news. Israel is finally getting serious about securing its water supply: just yesterday a major new desalination plant came online.
The newest plant – in Hadera – was the scene of a dedication ceremony on Thursday, when it was connected to the National Water Carrier. It will produce 127 million cu.m. of water per year when it reaches full capacity sometime in 2010. At that point, there will be more water coming from desalination than being provided by Lake Kinneret [a.k.a. the Sea of Galilee, a.k.a. the Sea of Tiberias].
Good for them. Israel has been agonizing over the ever-dropping water level of the Kinneret for years, and the coastal aquifers have been overpumped to the brink of irreversible infiltration by salt water from the Mediterranean. Desalination plans were in part held up by the hare-brained idea that it would be good for Israel-Turkish relations to import water from Turkey by tanker. Presumably, as Turkey has been cozying up to Israel’s enemies recently, this economically senseless idea is now off the agenda altogether.
And make no mistake: drought and desertification are enemies of everybody in the Middle East, Jew and Arab alike.