36 comments on “Desalination finally works

  1. Bloody clever those Israelis!

    I wonder if the Californian BDS mob have stopped drinking water. They really should.

  2. It’s only 58 cents per cubic meter because the energy comes from a coal-fired power plant. Try powering that with an off-shore windmill and the cost goes up.

    “One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs”

    Well, yes, but Israel is also committed to supplying both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan with quantities of water, which led to needing this cool piece of technology in the first place.

  3. I confidently expect some bearded nutters to try to blow these plants up based on spurious interpretations of the Hadiths by some towel head living in a cave in the Swat valley which are deemed to make the practice haram.

  4. “Well, yes, but Israel is also committed to supplying both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan with quantities of water, which led to needing this cool piece of technology in the first place.”

    I understand the Palestinian commitment, but why do they have supply Jordan exactly?

  5. @Bravefart

    Wouldn’t put it past the locals to engage in some nose/face/cut activity.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/palestinian-militants-ransack-former-gush-katif-greenhouses-1.179788

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Katif#Evacuation

    ‘All public buildings (schools, libraries, community centres, office buildings) as well as industrial buildings, factories and greenhouses were left intact. Palestinians dismantled most of what remained, scavenging for cement, rebar and other construction materials’.

  6. If I were them I’d keep the technology to myself – there are obvious benefits to RoP members from the technology, given where most of them live.

  7. If I were them I’d keep the technology to myself – there are obvious benefits to RoP members from the technology, given where most of them live.

    Knowing the Israelis they’ll export the technology but include a remotely controlled switch buried deep so they can shut the things down if the operators start bringing up Israel’s existence again.

  8. @ Dan
    Israel has been taking a lot of water from the River Jordan which is also the main source of drinking water for the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

  9. Nice that it’s getting less expensive,it has been a valid way to make water for a while. The issue now is transport. In places like the US the trucking of water to agricultural areas inland (or new pipelines) would be hugely expensive in the short term. I never thought that wealthy countries would have much of a problem securing water , but the poor areas will still fight over it.

  10. Well that’s rising sea levels due to goebbels warming sorted… Israel hoovering up the excess.

    Planet saved… well done Israel.

  11. Dan:

    “I understand the Palestinian commitment, but why do they have supply Jordan exactly?”

    Before 1967 Jordan controlled everything that is now the West Bank/Palestinian/Disputed territory. That part sits on top of an aquifer that was used for the local (Palestinian) population but potentially could be pumped into the trans-Jordan area. With Jordan relinquishing any claim to the west bank, they lost that potential water source (now insufficient for supplying water to even the local population). So this is to compensation for that.

    The other part is what John77 said, but the issue is that Israel has been pumping its drinking water out of the sea of Galilee and damming it, so there’s no flow of water down the lower Jordan river. That means water is missing that the Jordanians could use, and also that the dead sea (where the mouth of the Jordan is) is drying up.

  12. > Water produced by desalination costs just a third of what it did in the 1990s. Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents.

    So in the 1990s it only cost $1.74 for a thousand liters. That’s cheaper than what Thames Water currently charges.

  13. “Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents.”

    Mind you, any statement of costs unaccompanied by a statement of the conventions used for calculating them, is suspect.

  14. @dearieme:

    “Mind you, any statement of costs unaccompanied by a statement of the conventions used for calculating them, is suspect.”

    Sure. It’s likely marginal cost, so assuming that the plant and all related infrastructure already exists, they’d need to spend $580 to generate a million extra liters. They probably have to add some minerals to make it fit to drink, and they have to pump it from sea level to wherever people are drinking the water (although Tel-Aviv is pretty much at sea level). I’m guessing those costs are not included. Oh, and this relies on the cost of power staying exactly what it is.

    Whether they’re dishonest enough to exclude the cost of labor, I don’t know.

  15. Weren’t there proposals not so long ago for great big, or actually fvcking massive, black bin bags of fresh water to be floated round the east coast from Scotland to the SE to relieve the water shortage?

  16. ‘a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents’

    Or incremental cost for one more ‘thousand liters.’

    The number is not believable, I say an intentional lie, either by the reporter or the Sorek representative (and the stupid reporter not challenging them on it). They say the next plant will be US$900 million. You gotta sell a shitload of water to pay for that.

  17. Dan – “I understand the Palestinian commitment, but why do they have supply Jordan exactly?”

    There was a generally pro-Israeli plan for dividing the waters of the Jordan. Since its creation Israel has been taking more than its share. A lot more. It was a major cause of fighting with Syria because every time the Syrians tried to use the water, Israel would blow them up. It is also a sticking point over the return of the Golan. Asad Senior was willing but insisted on the return of every inch of land. Israel insisted on keeping a little bit so they could control the water.

  18. Niv, could you provide a feed that does not require me to sign up to 10 tons of bullshit? Alternatively, you could just provide the information.

  19. It wouldn’t be a thread concerning Israel without SMFS peddling his anti-Semitic bullshit.

    “It was a major cause of fighting with Syria…”

    No, the major cause was Syria wanting the State of Israel eliminated, and all it’s Jews dead or gone.

  20. Diogenes,

    There wasn’t a real answer in that thread. To summarize the cost of desalination depends.

    I’m pretty sure NiV’s point was that previously no one could tell you a good answer as we just didn’t have one. 58¢ per 1000 litres is at least a solid starting point. The real question is what are the externalities?

  21. Snag – “It wouldn’t be a thread concerning Israel without SMFS peddling his anti-Semitic bullshit.”

    Is that you Rusty? What is anti-semitic about that? It is true for one thing. Even if it wasn’t.

    “No, the major cause was Syria wanting the State of Israel eliminated, and all it’s Jews dead or gone.”

    Well yes and no. But the Syrians were wildly incompetent, poorly armed and unable to do much about Israel at the time. This is before the Baathist Coup and the arrival of massive Soviet aid. So were they picking a fight with Israel? Unlikely. Was Israel shooting at them for using the Jordan’s waters? Yes they were.

    This is hardly poorly documented. You can accept the truth or you can whine your little heart out. Up to you.

  22. synp said:
    “Israel is also committed to supplying both the Palestinian Authority and Jordan with quantities of water”

    “What have the Jews ever done for us”?

  23. Ignoring the Israel/Palestine politics for the moment, the outstanding problem with desal as compared to rainwater is that desal, by definition, sets off at sea level.

    Even if the actual desalination was free, you’d still have to pump it uphill. Rain tends to fall on hills; you can then dam up a river and have a reservoir above your urban area and have a gravity-fed water system. Can’t do that with desal.

    Even with sewage plants, what we tend to do is run the waste water to the sewage plant, clean it to drinking water, and then feed it to the next place downstream – exactly to avoid the energy need for pumping it.

    That 58 cent thousand litres of water? It weighs a tonne. Raising it one metre needs 10 kJ of pure potential energy. Even if your pump is 100% efficient, that’s about 0.05 cents per metre at normal electricity prices. (3600kJ is a kWh, the standard unit, which costs about 12p)

    Jerusalem, as an example, is about 750m – or another 40 cents or so per thousand litres. And that’s assuming a pump that can magically convert electricity to potential energy at 100% efficiency. Try a more realistic 10%, and it’s $4 a tonne. If you’re reliant on desal for water, then water prices will vary by altitude.

    Desal is a great solution for low-lying dry countries with lots of coastline. Brilliant for Dubai, for instance. It’s much less useful for anywhere with elevation.

  24. Richard: Rain tends to fall on hills.

    Not true everywhere. I have it on good authority that the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

  25. @Richard Gadsden:

    “Jerusalem, as an example, is about 750m – or another 40 cents or so per thousand litres. And that’s assuming a pump that can magically convert electricity to potential energy at 100% efficiency. Try a more realistic 10%, and it’s $4 a tonne. If you’re reliant on desal for water, then water prices will vary by altitude.”

    True, but Tel Aviv and its suburbs host half of Israel’s population and are between sea level and 200m elevation. The alternative to desal *in Israel* is Sea of Galilee which are 212 meters below sea level. Take care of Tel Aviv and the other water can take care of Jerusalem.

    For places like California the same is true. A huge portion of California’s population live in coastal communities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Feed those with desal and there’s enough rivers to feed the rest of the state.

  26. And that’s assuming a pump that can magically convert electricity to potential energy at 100% efficiency. Try a more realistic 10%, and it’s $4 a tonne.

    Isn’t that a little pessimistic? Pumped-storage is usually quoted at about 20-30% round-trip losses – that implies pumping losses in a range of 10-20% at the outside, or 80-90% efficiency.

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