Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ben-Eliezer calls for increased desalination

"Globes" reports that at its weekly meeting, the cabinet reviewed the option of increasing water production at desalination plants at Ashkelon, Hadera, and Palmachim. Last year, the government increased the planned quantity of desalinated water to 500 million cubic meters a year, and ordered the building of two plants, one to be operated by the Shafdan: Dan Region Sewage Reclamation Project in Rishon LeZion, and another plant to be operated by Mekorot National Water Company in Ashdod.

Minister of National Infrastructures Benjamin Ben-Eliezer presented an action plan to address the water crisis in Israel, in the light of the lack of rainfall so far this winter. His plan calls for, among other things, the imposing of restrictions on the watering of public and private parks; a further cut in fresh water quotas for agriculture, and an intensive PR campaign to encourage people to save water.

According to Ben-Eliezer, these moves will not suffice on their own. "The action needed now is to step up the planned building and expansion of desalination facilities," he said. "We're in a difficult situation."