July 31, 2009

Israeli project protects coastal aquifer

To counter salination of its coastal acquifer, Israel's National Water Authority has authorized a $131.3 million project, a report said.

The project calls for drilling ground water reserves at 35 sites from north of Ashdod to Sderot, and the water carrying salts and other minerals, will be pumped to desalination plants and turned into drinking water, Haaretz said Friday. The salt residue from the process will be pumped out to sea, the paper said.

Israel's coastal aquifer is seriously threatened by pollutants, heavy metals and toxic organic compounds, the paper said.

Nitrate concentrations have grown because of increased use of fertilizers and the use of sewage treatment or wastewater for irrigation, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

As far back as 1994, a study by Hebrew University in Jerusalem warned the intensive use of the coastal plain aquifer in Israel and its ongoing contamination by agrochemicals and domestic and industrial waste, had resulted in the deterioration of water quality.