Israel’s water is managed nationally by Mekorot Water, a government owned corporation that deals with the management, production and supply of water, effluent reclamation, and brackish water desalination. Mekorot supplies an estimated 80% of Israel’s drinking water and 70% of the nation’s total annual water consumption (1,500 billion m3/year) through its provision to 4,800 local entities like water corporations, farmers, and industrial plants.
Following an intensive drought from 1998-2002, the Israeli government approved several large seawater desalination plants with the goal to supply 750 million m3/year by 2020. Currently, four marine desalination plants are in operation along the Mediterranean coast: Ashkelon, Palmachim, Hadera, and Soreq, each using reverse osmosis technology. These plants feature a total capacity of about 500 million m3/year. A fifth desalination plant, the Ashdod facility, is currently under construction and will supply an additional estimated 100 million m3/year. Israel also has approximately 30 smaller brackish water desalination plants which collectively desalinate 30 million m3/year, some of which were first built in the 1960s.
Israel’s water system has one of the highest proportions of treating and reclaiming wastewater. The nation has a total of 120 wastewater treatment plants. The three largest plants – Shafdan, Haifa, and Sorek – annually recycle approximately 180 million m3/year. Annually, Israel recycles 80% of its sewage nationally and 100% of the sewage from the city of Tel Aviv. Israel’s treated wastewater is used primarily for agricultural irrigation, accounting for 40% of agricultural water use in 2010. Currently, Israel’s recycled water is not used for human consumption.