Any new Palestinian state will inherit ample water supply

The national religious party’s warning that Israel will be losing 1/2 of its water source if the West Bank becomes a Palestinian state is a slight exaggeration.

As it turns out Israel has other viable options to replace forfeited water source.



The national-religious Habayit Hayehudi party last week released a video warning of the dangers Israel would face following the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

Eden mineral water on sale in Israel, May 15, 2010

Eden mineral water. – Photo by Ofer Vaknin

Among the central warnings featured in the video was that the territory to be allotted to the Palestinians contains reservoirs that supply about half of Israel’s drinking water.

This danger is mentioned immediately after that of the terror threat, namely the entrance of rocket and missiles into the Palestinian state.

The reservoirs referred to in the film are drawn from the West Bank Mountain Aquifer, a bank of ground water flowing from either side of the watershed line along the strip of the mountain.

The rainwater descends down the slopes of the hills in Judea and Samaria hills, trickling into the ground and flowing both east and west.

Israel uses mainly the western part of the Mountain Aquifer, which it also calls the Yarkon-Taninim Acquifer. It is indeed one of country’s most crucial water sources, but it does not supply half of Israel’s water, as claimed in the film. Israel’s dependence on this water source has lessened over recent years, as the capability for desalination along the coast has expanded.

A report released recently by the Water Authority’s Hydraulic Service, detailing the figures of 2009-2010, indicated that some 300 million cubic meters of water had been extracted from the Yarkon-Taninim Acquifer for various consumption purposes (including drinking, agriculture, and industry).

Some 1.7 billion cubic meters of water were extracted that year from all water sources, meaning that the Yarkon-Taninim Acquifer constituted just one-fifth of Israel’s total water. Water extracted from two other water sources – the coastal aquifer and the Kinneret basin – constituted a much larger supply.

The desalination facilities supply Israel with some 350 million cubic meters annually. Within two years, that figure becomes NIS 600 million cubic meters, and grows even bigger in a decade. Israel will still need groundwater reservoirs, but will have much more flexibility over its resources, thanks to the desalination plants.


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