The espite its name however, it’s actually a freshwater lake. Sea of Galilee in northern Israel is actually is a freshwater lake that which has been sustaining life for millennia. The lake is still used to is used to water local farms and vineyards that produce anything from vegetables and greens to tangerines and wheat. The lake’s archeology, hotsprings and hiking trails create tourists and income to local communities.
But this sacred site of pilgrimage and where it is said that the New Testament says many of Jesus miracles took place — faces an uncertain future. The climate crisis is creating enormous variations in the lake’s levels. It is now pretty full, yet it was just five years ago that it was at a record low.
Climate change and inefficient water management is leaving lakes drained across the Middle East and beyond, however the Israeli government is hoping it can find a solution. It will draw water from into the Mediterranean sea, then take the salt out and transfer to the rest of Israel to fill up the lake as it is needed.
The art that is the Ashdod desalination plantthat transforms seawater into “sweet” water. – Matthias Somm/CNN
It’s a significant shift to it’s a dramatic change for Sea of Galilee, called the Kinneret in Hebrew which was once pumping out almost all Israel’s water that was drinkable. The water is now flowing in the opposite direction.
Israel is a renowned expert in desalination. As a nation that isn’t secure in its water supply and since more than two decades taken water from the Mediterranean and transforming it into reverse osmosis. It’s basically extracting salt from the water in order to make it drinkable. This is a method that other regions of the world such as California have turned to during times of drought however, in Israel it’s a regular fact. Five desalination facilities along the coast supply nearly all of the drinking water to the nation’s 9.2 million residents.
The issue is that these facilities are primarily powered by natural gas, which is a fossil fuel that is a major contributor to the climate crisis which makes it more difficult to control the extreme weather patterns that are making the lake’s level to shift in the first place. As time passes, and grids move to greener power sources, Israel’s solution could become more appealing.
The latest project appears at times a bit sluggish it’s the pipe is 1.6-meter-wide water pipe running across 31 miles — yet it’s the very first in its class. It will draw desalinated water and push it into the Tsalmon stream that supplies the lake.
At first, when he was informed about the plan, Noam Ben Shoa, head engineer of Israel’s national water corporation, Mekorot considered it an unusual idea.
“But very soon, we understood the value it has to the national market itself,” the pipe’s owner told CNN on an installation site for the pipe.
He Sea of Galilee. – Matthias Somm/CNN
It also assists in the growth of agriculture across the area, he explained in addition to fostering relations with neighbouring Jordan.
Israel has a long-running contract with Jordan to supply thousands of cubic meters of water each year to Jordan. In 2021, both countries reached a new deal in which Jordan will be able to receive 200 millions cubic meters desalinated drinking water each year from Israel approximately 20 percent of Jordan’s needs for water — in exchange for solar energy that will help the electric grid of Israel. Emirati firms would construct 600 solar power plant in Jordan to produce energy.
Within a matter of months, the $264-million pipeline anticipated to be in operation and be able to transport 120 million sq meters of water every year, but only supply the lake when needed, Ben Shoa said.
“The uniqueness of this project is that it gives us almost infinite flexibility,” said the engineer. “We can take the water that is in the reservoir … then then redirect it and then transport it wherever it’s required. In urban areas as well as for industrial or agricultural use, too.”
“They looked into the future climate change, and what’s going to happen [with] rainfall in this area, and also looked at the increase in population and projected increase in demand of water,” Gideon Gal, the senior scientist and director of the Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, told CNN. “And they realized that 30, 40 years from now, there’s going to be a serious problem in maintaining [water] levels in the lake, and maintaining water quality unless something is done.”
However, this has not been attempted before. Even the salt has been removed, the chemical composition of the water will be different in different manners, Gal said.
people bathing on bathing in the Sea of Galilee, which despite its name is actually an actual freshwater lake. – Matthias Somm/CNN
“When you mix desalinated water with natural water, you see an impact on the biology in the experiments,” Gal explained. “We’ll be bringing things to the lake that may not exist naturally.”
However, Gal says their experiments demonstrate that the new water will not have an enormous impact on the existing species. Actually, it could aid the lake in battling the impacts of climate change by increasing the amount of turnover in the water which prevents excessive bacterial growth. It could also assist in cooling the water’s temperature.
Even with the possibility of advantages, Gal said he wished that the lake didn’t require any human intervention.
“But given what we think we know about climate change, and what’s going to happen in the lake,” Gal stated. “The risk of introducing desalinated water is a risk that is worthwhile taking.”