Example – marginal water supply in Israel

Generic product activity or name
Water.

Synonyms
Drinking water, freshwater.

Context and background
Conventional freshwater resources are scarce in Israel and have been so historically.
Recently new technology has been developed that harvest freshwater from reverse osmosis of seawater. With this technology in place the previous situation of resource constraints have been alleviated.

Presentation of example
In Israel rainfall is limited to the winter, and rain falls largely in the northern part of the country. Israel’s water demand by far surpasses the available conventional sources (surface water, groundwater) and historically water was a constrained resource. Today, however, the demand is met by non-conventional water resources such as the reuse of treated wastewater (reclaimed water) and desalination of brackish water and seawater (Wikipedia 2015).

Especially the desalination programme in Israel has been quite elaborate and has within a short span of years changed the local water situation. Since 2005 four big desalination plants have been put into operation and more are under way (Wikipedia 2015). The existing plants today account for 40 percent of Israel’s water supply. By 2016, when additional plants are operational, about 50 percent of the country’s water is expected to come from desalination (Talbot 2015)

The production of water through desalination is expensive and not without environmental concerns. However, the technology of desalination is the only available unconstrained technology, and as the water demand increases, this is the technology that can increase production. Therefore we conclude that for Israel the modern technology and the marginal supplier of freshwater is desalination.

Information sources used
We used Wikipedia and other on-line sources for this example.

References:
Wikipedia 2015 – Water supply and sanitation in Israel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Israel

Talbot D. 2015. Megascale Desalination – The world’s largest and cheapest reverse-osmosis desalination plant is up and running in Israel. Technology Review http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/534996/megascale-desalination/
(accessed June 11 2015)

Author of this example
Bo Weidema

Date
2015-06-11

How to reference this
Weidema B P (2014), Example –marginal water supply in Israel. Version: 2015-06-11 www.consequential-lca.org