Wastewater treatment lagoon designed by Mapal
Wastewater treatment lagoon designed by MapalIsrael news photo: courtesy of Mapal Green En

The growing water crisis in Israel has prompted the Cabinet to approve an emergency plan to increase production of desalinated water.

The plan, which entails around-the-clock operation of desalination facilities in the country, is expected to result in production of some 420 million cubic meters of the life-giving fluid in 2013.

The increased production will enable the country to wrestle with the results of the increased consumption and the drop in precipitation in the region, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office.

The plan will "ensure the orderly supply of water to residents of Israel while maintaining existing sources of water," according to the PMO statement.

Under the plan, the Water Authority will both work towards reducing the effects of pollution, and rehabilitate existing water sources.

The Jordan River, for instance, which still flows with a strong current north of Lake Kineret, becomes a bare brown trickle of polluted water just a couple of kilometers to the south.

In addition, dumping from the Palestinian Authority Arab town of Anata has polluted natural streams in nearby Wadi Kelt and elsewhere with raw sewage.

In addition, the Cabinet approved a decision to establish reservoirs of treated, recycled wastewater for irrigation use by agricultural communities.

Moreover, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for a proposal to be submitted to the Cabinet in the coming weeks for the construction of a new desalination facility in Ashdod.

Netanyahu also called for additional steps in dealing with the growing crisis in Israel's water economy.

"Our mission is to deal with the crisis in the water economy and ensure the orderly supply of water to all Israelis," Netanyahu said. "Saving the water economy is critically important and, therefore, we will advance the issue with all due seriousness so that the public may enjoy desalinated water forthwith."