Israel Proves the Desalination Era is Here


m a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore.
“Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.

The article continues at the link.


Necessity is the mother on invention. It does not surprise me that Israel is among the leaders in desalinization technology. Having lived most of my life in New York I came to have great respect for the Jewish community of New York. Whatever skills or talents they were given by God they were not content to merely rest upon them but strived to develop and grow them. It is no wonder that Israel is a leader in technological innovation.

I do not agree with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on many things as related to the peace process. I was very happy though than on his recent state visits to Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia he signed economic agreement with the African countries to share this technology with them.


They’ve been working on this for some time, as one may imagine. In the late 1900s, they provided desal technology to a mining works in an arid part of upper South America, and there was enough excess capacity to supply a local Indian tribe.

Now, if only the Californians could buy into it…



Agreed. California is in dire need of dynamic innovation when it it’s perennial drought.


It is not just technology. It is energy. Desalination takes a lot of it. Desalinated water, even that produced by Israel, is very expensive because of the energy it takes to do it.


Yes, desalination is economical only if no other source of water is available. California will need to struggle with the politics of who gets the cheap surface water, and who will have to pay for the expensive desalinated water.


Well, SA has plenty of energy, in the form of coal and oil. So does California (oil). The Israelis will too, once the oil and gas off Haifa come on stream.

Long-haul aqueducts are also expensive, even if there is a reasonable place to begin them.

Anybody know how you say “frack baby frack” in Hebrew??:):):slight_smile:



Now the Arabs will never use this technology.


Nuts, they’ve been at it for years. So much so that in the Persian Gulf, so much water has been drawn that the salinity has risen from 3% to 5%.



California has a fair bit of desalination going on and plans to expand further in the future.

California while having a fair bit of oil has nowhere near enough even for her day to day usage.


They are exploring the matter. For example, San Diego opened the world’s largest desalination plant less than a year ago. However, it only supplies 5% of the county’s water needs. And the water produced by this desalination plant is much more expensive than the surface water which is transported from hundreds of miles away. If voters are willing to pay a premium for desalinated water, then this may be a viable solution for California. But since so much inexpensive surface water is already coursing through the state, I think a political fight over control of that water is more likely.

It will be a zero sum fight, with cities competing against agriculture, and both of them vs environmentalists. Farmers get, by far, the biggest slice of California’s water budget. However, urban voters may want a bigger slice in the future, and consider that fight to be more acceptable than paying extra for desalinated water. Environmentalists will be hard pressed to protect the share of water which is currently dedicated to preserving rivers and the creatures supported by those.

If California was as arid as Israel, then I agree that desalination would be greatly expanded. But fresh water in California is abundant, while simultaneously limited and at times scarce. A fight over that inexpensive fresh water offers some parties the opportunity to shift the burden of water scarcity to others. I think that political fight will take place before any major reliance on desalination.


You sure about that?


I hope California builds more desal soon.

California water rights are a huge mess.

Los Angeles is in fact more arid than Israel and the Central Valley is also arid to semi-arid.

Just recently it had the world’s largest desal plant.


I’d like to see more use of desalination here in TX.

Problem is, unlike in Israel, water from the sea must be pumped uphill to where needed, therefore more expensive. But the rivers aren’t getting any bigger, nor the weather wetter.



I agree with you on all three points.

I want to believe that desalination can help the US cope with the chronic water shortage facing the western states. The politics of water, however, are convoluted and astonishingly short-sighted.


The problem with desalination is that it is so expensive. Hopefully technological innovation will help to bring the cost of desalination down in the future so that it can be a much more feasible technology around the world.


There is now one desalination plant working for San Diego.

Cost is about $5 per month per family.

About a dozen more plants have been proposed by various local communities, but the governor has refused to approve them.

And the San Diego plant was delayed for many years by people who objected.


God gave 2 songs for peace between Israel and Palestine. Before I start singing, I quote scripture verses. I challenge Palestine to stop buying weapons and make electrical grids and desalination plants.
in Christ’s love


The surcharge is $5 per month per household. However, that is for a plant which provides, at most, 8% of the water used in the county. If San Diego were to rely on desalination for the majority of its water, the surcharge would be many times that amount. Plus, each household would still have to pay for the water they actually used.

Could you tell us more about these plants?


Israel keeps bombing Palestinian infrastructure and preventing importation of stuff necessary to rebuild it.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit