Israelis have many years of experience in seawater purification.
Despite the name, the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is actually a freshwater lake and it has helped sustain life for millennia. To this day, people still draw water from the lake to irrigate vineyards and local farms.
The local community also has a steady source of income from hot springs, tourism, etc. thanks to the Sea of Galilee.
But the climate crisis is causing major upheavals for the Sea of Galilee. The lake has continuously set the record for the lowest water level in the past few years.
Climate change and unsustainable water management are causing lakes to dry up across the Middle East. However, the Israeli government found hope. They plan to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea, filter the salt and then refill the lake as needed.
Israel has extensive experience in desalination. As a water-starved country, for more than 2 decades it has been taking seawater from the Mediterranean and treating it through a process known as reverse osmosis, which essentially takes salt out of the water to drinkable.
In some parts of the world, such as California (USA) also use salt filtration when drought. But in Israel, filtering seems to happen every day. Five desalination plants along the coast now provide nearly all of the tap water for the country’s 9.2 million people.
One problem is that these plants mostly run on natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to the climate crisis, which only exacerbates extreme weather that makes fresh water even more scarce.
Israel is working to transition to greener sources of energy.
The project to pump water for the Sea of Galilee includes a water pipe 1.6m wide and 31km long. It will take desalinated seawater, pump it through the Tsalmon stream to supply the lake.
When he first heard about the project, Noam Ben Shoa, chief engineer at Israel’s national water company, thought it was a strange idea:
“But very quickly, we understood its value to the country. The project also helps develop agriculture in the wider region, as well as the relationship with neighboring Jordan.”
Israel has signed a long-term water supply contract for Jordan. In 2021, the two sides sign a new agreement under which Jordan will receive 200 million m3 of desalinated water per year from Israel – about 20% of Jordan’s water needs – in return for solar energy to power the grid. Israeli electricity.
Jordanian companies will build 600 solar power plants in the country to generate energy. Within a few months, the new $264 million pipeline is expected to be operational and be able to transfer 120 million cubic meters of water per year, but will only pump into the lake when needed.
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