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News Israel: Water usage from natural sources down since 1967

Contrary to established opinion, water consumption from natural sources in Israel has actually decreased since the Six-Day War, even though the population more than doubled, a recent study found.

The state Water Authority conducted the study, among other reasons, to refute a claim made by international water experts that Israel launched the 1967 war to increase its water pumping capacity.

The main factor in the study's findings is the major increase in use of purified wastewater for agricultural irrigation. Half of the consumption in recent years has been met also through two large desalination plants.

Despite this, Israel is in a severe crisis because several cycles of drought years over the past two decades created steep drops in the level of Lake Kinneret and groundwater reservoirs, even though overall water consumption did not go up.

According to the Water Authority's data, the annual natural water consumption for 1967 was 1.4 billion cubic meters. In 2006 it was 1.23 billion cubic meters. The rest, some 600,000 cubic meters, were supplied through purified wastewater and desalination plants.

When the total natural water consumption is divided per capita, it yields another surprising statistic: Annual consumption in Israel decreased from 508 cubic meters per capita in 1967 to 170 cubic meters today. The latter figure also reflects changes in agriculture, since household water
consumption rose steadily.

Use of treated wastewater for irrigation also influences the existing thinking on saving water. At an Israeli Water Association conference last month, the Water Authority's director, Prof. Uri Shani, said that Israeli household consumption is "perfectly reasonable." Most household water winds up being recycled for irrigation, Shani claimed, but this is not the case with water for public parks and gardens, so that is the area where savings measures are most in need.

Contact information By Zafrir Rinat Haaretz (email: zafrirr@haaretz.co.il)
News type Inbrief
File link http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=38829
Source of information By Zafrir Rinat Haaretz
Keyword(s) desalination, water consumption, wastewater, irrigation, drought, groundwater reservoirs
Subject(s) AGRICULTURE , CHARACTERISTICAL PARAMETERS OF WATERS AND SLUDGES , DRINKING WATER , DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION : COMMON PROCESSES OF PURIFICATION AND TREATMENT , HYDRAULICS - HYDROLOGY , INFRASTRUCTURES , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , RISKS AND CLIMATOLOGY , SANITATION -STRICT PURIFICATION PROCESSES , WATER DEMAND
Relation http://www.emwis.org/countries/fol749974/country725681
Geographical coverage Israel
News date 18/04/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH
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