January and half of February have passed with abnormally low rainfall and the country faces a serious water shortage.
Avshalom Vilan, chairman of the Israeli Agricultural Federation, told Arutz Sheva that the situation is so bad that stored water usually not released to farmers in northern Israel before April is already being used, due to the arid weather.
Unless the country gets lots of rain in the coming weeks, the government will have to take measures to alleviate the shortage. In a word — desalination.
Thanks to last year’s abundant rainfall, the desalination plants are currently running only at half capacity. At full capacity, said Vilan, they could supply 150 million cubic meters of water, enough to get Israel through the current crisis.
Desalinated water is more expensive, though. Farmers and food processors will pass on their extra costs for agricultural water to consumers.
“A lack of water could be very problematic for the Israeli consumer,” said Vilan. “We need to make decisions now. The Treasury must lead this effort. If we enact this we have an opportunity to begin to solve our water problems,” he said.