Sunday 24 March 2019

Survey to Israel’s
fresh water resources

By: Masaf

It was almost impossible for Israel to declare readiness to export fresh water to neighbors from 1950 to 1960 when Israel was in war with neighboring countries over fresh water resources.


Water-sweetening and irrigation systems, along with water retrieval and water conservation policies and theft of water from the Palestinian territories, have increased water supplies in Israel, and surprisingly, changed the deficit position to overproduction.


Netanyahu in a video message offered water solutions for Iran’s water crisis; analysts believe that he has linked Israel's strength to Iran’s weakness for public opinion policies.


In ancient ages and even during the British mandate (1917-1048), the scarcity of water in Palestine, as well as among its neighbors in the Middle East, had a decisive impact not only on the economic development of the area but also on the political conflict between Jews and Arabs. In the 1950s, the water dispute led to tension into bloodshed between Israel and Syria. In September 1965, the decision was made to change the compulsory route of the Jordanian sub-branches, although not implemented, but the water dispute was the key reason for the six-day conflict eruption in less than two years. However, since 1967, the apparent water dispute between Israel and the Arab countries was ceased, and today technology has changed all these issues. Israel, in a peace treaty signed in Jordan in 1994, pledged to transfer 50 million cubic meters of water annually to Jordan from the sub-shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee. This increased in 2013 when Israel's water distribution exceeded its expectations. Now, Israel's ability to produce all the water needed for human consumption, for example, has changed the livelihood of its people and can even bring peace closer to its neighbors.


Israel's hydrant technologies

In the face of limited, dry climates, Israel has significantly relied on sea water since the 1960s, with the establishment of the first facility in Eliot. Today, about 60% of the domestic demand for water comes from the sweetening facilities. From the 1960s to the 1990s, Israel provided water through the Sea of​Galilee and underground aquifers, but in the 1990s water shortages and sea level depreciation increased. Since then, sweetening water, along with drip irrigation, water retrieval and water conservation policies, has increased the supply of water in Israel and has dramatically scaled back water scarcity. In fact, Israel is the only land in which deserts are being cut by the abundance of water for agriculture. Today, no one in Israel suffers from lack of water.


The turning point was in 2007. In that year, in Israel, bathrooms and showers were installed in a low-waste mode, and the authorities provided advanced facilities for sewage treatment that could relief 86% of the wastewater and use it in irrigation and ranked first in the world. Israel is recycling water 10 times more than the rest of the world. Most of the water consumed by Israeli citizens comes from desalination and scavenging. In one plan, Israel has been building a total of six large gardens along the Mediterranean Sea for 10 years. One of them is located in the southern city of Tel Aviv, which can supply more than one and a half million people every day.


Palestinian water resources stolen by Israel

Since 1967, the Israeli army took over all the water resources in the West Bank and in 1974, took over the water resources in Gaza. This control, first obtained through military occupation, was later confirmed by the Oslo peace accords and increasingly as a result of the functioning and passivity of the PA and international non-governmental organizations. A brief overview of Israel's dominance of water resources shows that Israel has diverted the Jordan River to the Galilee Sea; Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have done the same with their lands. Such actions have led to lower levels of insecurity. Israel, with disregard for the international law's opposition to the plundering of the occupied territories, controls mountainous aquifers, of which 80% are in the West Bank, and uses them for agricultural purposes, urban settlements and lush meadows. In 2009, these aquifers supplied 40 percent of Israel's agricultural needs and 50 percent of its drinking water.


Israel also uses more than its share of the Gaza Strip aquifer and diverts the Wadi Gaza river just before reaching Gaza to the Dead Desert. The Israeli border also covers all wells and springs east of the Green Line. In 1982, Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon sold all West Bank water facilities to Mekorot, and what was once a military achievement turned into a state-owned property. Today, West Bank Palestinians buy half of their water at a price above the city's residents.


Challenges facing Israel

Israeli population is still rising. According to the CIA in 2017, Israel has 8 million and 174,000 population. In addition, about 21,000 Israelis live in the Golan Heights and about 201,000 live in Eastern Jerusalem. Due to population growth and rising living standards, annual water consumption is rising. According to forecasts, the required amount of water will be about 3.5 billion cubic meters per year from 2050. Meanwhile, the average natural enriched water per year will be less than 1.1 billion cubic meters. This means that Israel will face an annual deficit of 2.4 billion cubic meters, twice the deficit figure in 2015. Therefore, the future of Israel depends on the sustainability of drinking water. In addition, the distribution of this water depends on the waters flowing from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to Israel. In addition to political events, the distribution of water from the gazebo facility may affect an important oil spill on its coast.


Climate change is also a source of concern for Israel and the Middle East. According to the New York Times, 2016 was the hottest year on Earth. Climate change has led to water insecurity throughout the Middle East, including Israel and its neighbors Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Scientists estimate that by 2050, as a result of climate change, the Mediterranean basin will experience a 30 to 50 percent reduction in freshwater resources. This severe heat will affect the rivers, the Galilee Sea and the major part of the Israeli agricultural industry. As drinking water becomes more and more rare, climate change will have a significant impact on Israeli-Palestinian relations. In this sense, since the levels of drinking water are dangerously diminishing not only in Israel but throughout the Middle East, climate change represents a growing threat. Even where there is drinking water, pollution affects it throughout the Middle East.


Another issue is that in 2016 Israel was extensively hit by another drought affecting the Sea of ​​Galilee. The shortage of water in northern Israel over the last 100 years has been the worst water scarcity. Haaretz wrote that even if 2018 is a rainy year that cannot be called the fifth year of drought this year, Israel will continue to be in crisis. Officials warned that water levels would not be as high as a decade ago, when the Sea of ​​Galilee (the largest water source in Israel) and underground aquifers were full. "The Sea of ​​Galilee will never be like the first, and it will become the marsh within the next 20 years," said one official who asked for anonymity. For this purpose, the Israeli Water Organization and the Aquino Corporation provided an emergency plan of 7.5 billion Chicks ($ 2.2 billion) to ensure adequate water supply for homes and farms by 2050. The emergency plan addresses the short-term and long-term Israeli problems facing it and has undertaken four steps: a new drilling rig to provide groundwater, aquifers, water pumping into the lake of Galilee and a reduction in water use.


As a matter of fact Israel has become a global leader in the process of sweetening water, but since it can now produce large quantities of drinking water through sweetening water, many Israelis no longer believe that there is a shortage of water in Israel, This will reduce the perception of the need to maintain and manage water distribution in Israel. In addition, the Caspian facilities are the basis for distributing the current and future water of Israel, Israel still needs to deal with the environmental damage caused by sweetening water. Water sweetening facilities are essential, but if Israel's ability to produce drinking water is affected by hostile actions or environmental events, it will also be affected.


On the other hand, the Israeli national water system has caused environmental problems. The decision was made to build a national water system for the purpose of transferring water from the Galilee Sea in 1948. The implementation of this project, which required the redesign of the three rivers of Jordan, Yarmouk and Litany from north to south, lasted until 1964. Today, 50 years after completion of the project, there has been a lot of damage: the sharp drop in the Galilee, the fighting with Syria and Jordan over the water, and perhaps even the largest, the great damage to the sea of ​​almonds due to the sharp drop in water entering Jordan River.


In conclusion, access to drinking water is critical in the future of Israel; Israel is heavily dependent on water solution plans, underground aquifers, and water flows from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to that land. In addition to political events, pollution and other factors resulting from the extraction of oil and natural gas from the coast, there may be a risk of water supply and water supply facilities. American oil and natural gas companies may help Israel tramp them to allow them to extract these resources. Under such circumstances, Israel will soon find itself in a position to choose between priority to drinking water or energy resources.

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