Moses said to the people in his final charge "I put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life...Be strong and resolute..for the Lord will not forsake you" Deut. 30 and 31. Former US National Debate Champion and Ordained Rabbi tackles issues of Public Policy, Israel, Islamic Terrorism, Antisemitism, Jewish Wisdom and the Chicago Bears
Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Six decades of providing water in a country that’s 60 percent desert have made Israel a technological leader in the field, a model that points the way for drought-stricken California.
Desalination of sea water, reuse of treated sewage for agriculture, software creating an early-warning system for leaks, computerized drip irrigation and careful accounting of every drop have become the norm in Israel, the world’s 40th biggest economy. Officials in California, which would be the 10th largest if it were a nation, are paying attention.
North of San Diego, Israel’s IDE Technologies Ltd. is helping to build what it says will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The facility, when finished in 2016, will be able to provide 50 million gallons of potable water a day. Three smaller plants already operate in California, and 15 more have been proposed.
“This is the one supply that San Diego County is investing in that is truly drought-proof,” said Peter MacLaggan, senior vice president of privately held Poseidon Resources Corp., which is developing the $922 million plant with IDE. “It does cost more, but it has some reliability benefits that are very important to the regional economy.”
About two-thirds of California, home to 38 million people, is gripped by “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the most severe conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website. Ten percent of the state -- all in the San Joaquin Valley -- is considered exceptionally dry, according to the website, which was updated Feb. 4, before light to moderate rains fell on much of California. It’s the state’s most severe drought since at least 1977, according to Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District, which serves 19 million residents of southern California.
Israel has been dealing with such conditions throughout its history. Last month was the driest January on record in a large part of the Jewish state. The climate has forced the country to go to unusual lengths to lower consumption and raise supply, methods it now uses as a matter of routine.
In Israel, desalination now provides about one-quarter of the country’s water supply. Each of IDE’s three plants in Israel provides roughly double the output anticipated from the facility in Carlsbad, California, MacLaggan said by telephone.
“We don’t have enough water from nature,” says Avraham Tenne, head of the Desalination Division at Israel’s Water Authority, based in Tel Aviv. “But we are now able to close the gap between the water that nature has given us, and the demand for water. With a touch of a button, we can produce 600 million cubic meters of water.”