29 October 2012

Connecting the dots

Last week, I wrote that San Diego should not build a desalination plant because its $900 million cost ($3.3. billion if you instead count the cost of buying its water) was a waste of money compared to alternatives such as reducing demand and/or reforming water governance in Southern California (there's plenty of water, but no market for redistributing it).*

Last week, I also wrote:
"Israel’s agriculture sector is set to receive a 25 million cubic meter increase in water supply in 2013... thanks to the country’s growing desalination program and its improved rainfall in 2012." In other words, desalination will NOT free water for Palestinians or the Jordan River. It will allow farmers to use MORE water.
Now I read (yet again) that the Dead Sea is dropping at a record rate, due to water diversions from the (way-overengineered) Jordan River. One "solution" is to build a $10 billion desalination project (the Red-Dead project) to try to bring more fresh water to Amman and more salty water to the Dead Sea.

So, the Israelis are redirecting the Jordan River water they used in cities to their farmers, while the Jordanians (with LOTS of foreign money) are going to try to make up for that reduction in Jordan water by spending $10 billion?

Why not direct $5 billion to Israeli farmers, to get them to stop using Jordan River water?** Both sides will make or save money, but that won't happen until Israelis stop looking out for themselves and leaving their neighbors with dust.

Bottom Line: The "solution" to poor governance is not more money. That money is wasted, since the problems of poor governance will come back and hit you from another direction.
* BP sent this article describing how people in SD use 180 gcd, with some using nearly 600 gcd -- mostly for their gardens acreage.

** Israeli agriculture employs between 3 and 9 percent of the population, provides about 3 percent of agricultural activity (about $6 billion) and 90-95 percent of the food consumed in the country (imports and exports are about equal). Does Israel need to produce food "for security"? No.

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