2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:25 AM


ELHANANY Sr, Sara, Israel Water Autority, Water Quality Division, 14 Hamasger st, Tel Aviv, 67776, Israel, sarael10@water.gov.il

Israel, like most of its neighbor countries, is located at the edge of the desert. Accordingly, natural water resources cannot meet all of the country's water needs. Sequence of drought years depleted water resources. Water quality (especially salinity and nitrates) have deteriorated mainly in the only multiyear operating reservoir – the coastal Plain Aquifer. The Coastal Plain aquifer, which is the most important operational aquifer of the country, extends over an area of 2000 km2. Unfortunately the aquifer is located in the most densely populated regions the country thus, the replenishment area of the aquifer is covered by cities, agricultural land and industrial areas. Furthermore as the consequence of overexploitation and indiscriminate disposal of municipal, industrial and agricultural waste, the aquifer is contaminated. The concentrations of both Cl- and NO3= were found to increase dramatically in the last decade. Many parts of the aquifer have been contaminated by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) derived from industrial sources. Recently, extremely high perchlorate concentrations (>300,000 ppb) have been detected in groundwater underlying the area owned by the Israeli Military Industry (IMI) in the central part of the coastal Plain aquifer (north of Tel Aviv) creating a huge plume. Many drinking-water supply wells have also been found to be contaminated and were consequently shut down. Additional water-supply wells in the nearby city are also anticipated to be affected in the near future if preventive measures are not taken. The damage to the Coastal Plain Aquifer is already very serious. The dilemma of saving or abandoning the aquifer is rising continuously. Israel adopted a new approach which is based on sustainable principals. This approach could secure the use of natural water resources for coming generations. Production of fresh water resources by sea water desalination, water recycling, reuse of sewage effluents and prevention of further contamination and remediation of polluted water resources will enable us to balance water demands and water resources availability. The Manufactured Water Resources (Desalinated Waters or Reused Effluents) will be 55% of the Natural Water Resources at the end of this decade.