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Israel’s Water Situation Called ‘critical’; Jordan Project Stressed


An Israeli specialist on arid zone research warned today that Israel would reach a critical point in water needs within 15 years unless all known methods, including desalination, were applied to “stretch” present water resources.

Speaking on the second day of a meeting on desalination convened here by the Milan Trade Fair and the Italian Federation of Scientific Organizations, Dr. Reuven Katz, of Israel, stressed the fact that 80 per cent of Israel’s total replenishable water supply–an estimated 20,000,000,000 cubic meters annually–was already being used, and that about one-fifth was brackish ground water with steadily increasing salinity.

He pointed out also that 95 per cent of Israel’s total water supply was situated in the northern half of the country and that, for this reason, it was “an absolute necessity” to pipe “large quantities” to the southern half. This was a reference to Israelis plans to tap the Jordan River through Lake Tiberias for its National Water Carrier project to irrigate the Negev. He emphasized that, in addition to the need for such transport of water, there would also have to be application of all known methods to “stretch” existing supplies.

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