The world's largest water desalinization plant has begun operation in Hadera, in Israel. The plant should be able to provide 300 million cubic meters of water every year which is just shy of one third of the water Israel's National Water Carrier currently provides. The new facility will be the cornerstone of Israel's new national water carrier which, rather than relying on natural sources of water such as the Sea of Galilee--already under heavy strain--will rely on desalinized water.
As a first point, it may not be true that this plant is the largest in the world. This article, for example, suggests that the largest water desalinization plant in the world just opened in Saudi Arabia. It's possible that this plant has overshadowed the Saudi one, or perhaps it's a different type of facility. It really is immaterial, but could nonetheless be an error in the original article.
Secondly, though desalinization can have negative environmental effects, this is a project that should be welcomed. Given the extreme damage being done to the sea of Galilee by the large amount of water being withdrawn from it, any small environmental impact in the Mediterranean could be eclipsed by the benefits of reducing pressure on the Sea of Galilee and on the Jordan river and Dead Sea which it feeds.
Thirdly, on a political level, the decrease in pressure on water sources in the east of Israel (sources shared with Palestinians and Jordan) means that there is just that much less to worry about when the time comes to share the resources that exist. Israel's new sources of water, should make it easier for Israel to give more freely of its other sources. This could help to smooth any tension that may exist over water resource allocation. On the Syrian front, this move may be helpful as well. If Israel can really produce a significant amount of its drinking water from desalinization, then Israel becomes that much less dependent on the sources of water in the Golan. It gives Israel greater flexibility on the question of water sources in the Golan. Sources which, at least until now, were very important to Israel.
These, of course, are hypothesis. Hopefully, Israeli decision makers will follow these technical developments on the political level with appropriate action.
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