IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th August, 2023 Geography

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The growing importance of desalination as a solution to address water scarcity and climate change challenges.


  • Desalination is emerging as a crucial tool to combat climate change challenges and water scarcity.
  • Increasingly important for water-scarce nations due to falling technology costs and the rise of renewable energy.

Israel's Pioneering Model: Demonstrating Desalination's Potential

  • Israel serves as a pioneering model showcasing effective water scarcity mitigation.
  • Combination of desalination, water management, and technology to address water scarcity.
  • About 25% of Israel's drinking water comes from desalination, compared to the global average of 1%

Israel's Desalination Success Story

  • Israel's desalination capacity started in 2005 and has grown to produce 585 million cubic meters annually.
  • Accompanied by a 90% wastewater recycling rate, reducing water-related concerns.
  • It has changed public perceptions from water conservation issues to water availability confidence.

Diversification of Water Sources and Global Impact

  • Israel shifted from freshwater reliance to diversified sources through desalination.
  • Developed agreements to supply desalinated water to neighboring countries like Jordan.
  • Five desalination plants operational, two under construction, aiming to account for 85-90% of Israel's annual water consumption.

Challenges and Lessons for Water-Scarce Regions

  • Substantial capital investments required for establishing desalination plants.
  • Israel's cost-effectiveness is influenced by favorable project financing and lower labor costs.
  • Valuable lessons for other water-scarce regions, though challenges in replicating the model globally.

Optimistic Outlook for Desalination Market

  • Global Industry Analysts predict significant growth by 2026, driven by countries like China and the United States.
  • Technological proliferation likely to decrease costs, making desalination accessible for low-income nations.

Sustainability and Energy Considerations

  • Energy-intensive nature of desalination remains a challenge.
  • Renewable energy sources pivotal for sustainability, reducing costs.
  • Incorporating solar power and storage systems can decrease costs by 2050.

Holistic Strategies for Water Security

  • Alongside desalination, strategies like water use campaigns, wastewater recycling, and efficient farming practices are crucial.
  • Paradigm shift from viewing water as freely available to valuing it as a commodity.
  • Governments' role in making bold decisions to encourage water conservation.

India's Path to Water Security

  • India faces water stress due to population growth, urbanization, and climate change.
  • Lessons from Israel's journey can inform India's strategies.

Strategies for India

  • Adopting Desalination Technology: India can leverage its coastline for desalination in water-scarce coastal areas.
  • Recycling and Reusing Wastewater: Prioritize recycling for non-potable uses to alleviate freshwater pressure and pollution.
  • Localized Water Management: Tailor solutions to unique water availability and demand patterns in different regions.
  • Integration of Renewable Energy: Aligning with India's commitment to renewables, leveraging solar and wind for desalination.
  • Water Diplomacy and Cooperation: Explore diplomatic initiatives for shared water resources management with neighboring countries.
  • Promoting Public Awareness: Encourage citizens to value and conserve water through awareness campaigns.
  • Encouraging Innovation: Invest in water sector research and development, nurturing startups and researchers.
  • Crafting Comprehensive Policies: Develop regulatory measures that incentivize water recycling and promote sustainable practices.
  • Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing: Collaborate with Israel to enhance water management capabilities through training and knowledge exchange.
  • Long-Term Vision: Invest in resilient water infrastructure, technologies, and policies to withstand climate change and population growth.
  • Focus on Brine Management: Consider the reuse and recovery of brine waste by-product generated in the desalination process.

Global Scale of Desalination and Brine

  • World produces over 100 billion liters of water daily through desalination, generating concentrated brine.
  • Disposal of brine requires careful consideration due to potential ecological damage.
  • Converting brine can be economically and ecologically beneficial.


Q) Analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with replicating desalination model of Israel in other water-scarce regions, like India.