Conservation before Desalination

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) –┬ápartnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
05 February 2010

Desalination is very expensive, and thus less costly methods should be exploited first. That is how Joseph Zuback, chief technology officer of Siemens Water Technologies, has summed up his approach to the choice between water conservation and desalination.

Ashkelon desalination plant

The true cost of opting for desalination, rather than pushing for conservation, was kept secret for years, and was revealed to the (Israeli) public only now, with the announcement of the impending 40 percent increase in the price of water. According to Shani, this increase is supposed to cover “investments in water infrastructures and desalination plants, which will cost a total of NIS 30 billion (USD8 billion) over the long term.”

Today it is crystal clear that if the “conservation before desalination” campaign had been initiated back in 2002, as was recommended, Lake Kinneret and the aquifers would be full, desalination would not even have been considered, and the unconscionable water-rate hikes would not have been imposed.

In contrast to the Israeli government, authorities in Australia have responded to a decade of the lowest rainfall on record for a century not with construction of desalination plants but by implementing an aggressive conservation campaign for more than a decade.

Extracts from article at

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