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Israel pumps desalinated water to save the Sea of ​​Galilee

Israel is planning to pump excess water from desalination plants into the Sea of ​​Galilee, which is shrinking due to over-exploitation and climate change.

Israel's coastal desalination plant.  Photo:

Israel’s coastal desalination plant. Image:

Erratic rainfall, rising temperatures and water pumping have destroyed the Sea of ​​Galilee, the world’s lowest freshwater lake that has served as Israel’s main reservoir of filtered water for decades. Now, Israel intends to address the challenge by reversing the flow of water through a network of pumps, pipes and tunnels built in the 1960s. Authorities describe the project as a demonstration of management technology. Israel’s advanced water management and desalination.

Israel’s average temperature has increased by 2 degrees Celsius over the past two decades, according to Noam Halfon, a researcher at the Meteorological Service. Wet winters fill the lake, but water levels have dropped significantly during a drought period from 2014 to 2018. Some models predict Israel will experience less rainfall, falling 10-15% in the second half of the world. 21st century. Israel’s rapid population growth also entails the need for new water infrastructure. Halfon said the country’s population doubles every 30 years.

Ziv Cohen, an engineer at Israel’s Mekorot water company, is overseeing a construction site in the north, where a crane places sections of water pipes into trenches. Later this year, the project, worth more than $300 million, will reverse the flow of the system that brought lake water to many areas across the country in the past. “As the water flows through the pipeline, which carries excess water from the central desalination plants, we can raise the water level in the Sea of ​​Galilee, turning it into a usable reserve,” Cohen said.

An hour’s drive from the Mediterranean coast, OMIS Water Ltd’s Hadera is one of five desalination plants in Israel. David Muhlgay, the company’s chief executive officer, said Israel has grown from a country of water scarcity to one with abundant water resources in the past 15 years. Muhlgay’s plant produces 137 million cubic meters of water a year, representing 16% of Israel’s drinking water supply. The capacity of the factory is 160 million m3/year.

Leading desalination technology helps Israel strengthen cooperation with the Middle East, which is scarce in water. Last year, Israel, Jordan and the UAE agreed to a plan for Jordan to exchange solar energy with Israel’s water, and the water would come from the Sea of ​​Galilee.

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