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Israel meeting its water needs from desalination, recycling

Israel desalination plant

Israel desalination plant

Gosh, an entire country that gets it about water. Israel no longer worries about water shortages because it has four desalination plants and recycles wastewater for use by agriculture. You might think this would be a fine example for California to follow, right? However,NIMBYs, lawsuits, and ponderous regulatory agencies have so far blocked and delayed any possibility of desal on the California coast.

With four plants currently in operation, all built since 2005, and a fifth slated to go into service this year, Israel is meeting much of its water needs by purifying seawater from the Mediterranean. Some 80 percent of domestic water use in Israeli cities comes from desalinated water, according to Israeli officials.

The country treats and recycles more than 80 percent of its wastewater, using it primarily for agriculture, making it a world leader in that field.

Their desalination plants are privately funded, not subsidized, and have long term agreements to sell the water. Desal does have potential downsides. It uses large amounts of electricity and salt is dumped back into the ocean. It’s expensive, with unclear environmental consequences.

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