The Jewish National Fund (JNF), under president Ron Lauder, plans to invest $100 million in water projects in Israel over the coming years. The goal is to produce 200 million cubic meters of drinking quality water a year, enough for one million people, as well as irrigation for 250,000 acres and the development of open spaces. In the past decade, the JNF has spent $75 million on water projects.
JNF officials made the announcement to the State Inquiry Committee into the Management of the Water Economy. Projects under consideration include importing water from Turkey, construction of environmentally friendly water reservoirs on IDF bases in the Negev, and sewage treatment plants.
A JNF official said, "I doubt that in the global recession there are many companies that will invest in desalination plants. It is therefore necessary to think about other solutions, such as importing water from Turkey, and protecting natural sources."
JNF officials added that in order to promote the importing of water from Turkey, a government commitment was first necessary to purchase the water for several years at an agreed-upon price.
Committee chairman Judge Emeritus Dan Bein noted that the Water Authority had already ruled out this option. A JNF official replied, "Now that global economic conditions have changed and shipping prices have dropped, the matter should be reconsidered."
The committee also noted that Israel provides the Palestinian Authority with more water than its commitments in agreements.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that control of the aquifers in the West Bank was a key issue between Israel and the Palestinians, which was due to settled in a future treaty. Israel also provides water to Jordan above the commitments in the peace treaty, as a gesture of goodwill to strengthen bilateral relations. Under the treaty, Israel receives 25 million cubic meters of water a year from the Yarmuk River, with the rest going to Jordan.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 12, 2009
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009