Currently California is suffering the worst drought that it has ever suffered in its recorded history. Not only does this drought, caused by a lack of precipitation, affect the readily available water for citizens to use but it also affects agricultural production and jobs in a state that is currently $132 billion in debt.
In fact 25% of the food in the United States is produced in Califor- nia. Israel, a country that has been perpetually in drought for essentially forever, has taken major steps to avoid the effects of drought on its country. So how has Israel continu- ously beat its drought in the pres- ent situation, when its agricultural sector is being hurt and it is also suffering extreme water shortages?
If you don’t know, desalination plants remove minerals and salts from salt water leaving behind fresh water fit for human consumption or irrigation. Israel’s desalination program now supplies over 35% of Israel’s fresh water. Desalination relies on high energy consumption and does indeed have an environ- mental impact. However, by using natural gas and renewable technol- ogy, such as solar energy, to power desalination plants we can lessen the environmental effects while provid- ing ourselves with an abundance of
Furthermore, desalination plants
in the long term help the national economy because other countries surrounding Israel have similar problems with water, but have not invested in desalination plants. As a result Israel can make money on the water that it desalinizes and sells to neighboring countries. In the long run, this will allow Israel to maintain economic stability, especially as the price of water rises.
Currently three small desalina- tion plants already have been oper- ating in California. However, the drought has pushed the proposal of fifteen more plants. By implement- ing desalination plants in California, the state can start making money to help relieve debt, provide water for its citizens, and also demonstrate the wisdom of learning from ally countries such as Israel to better the state of California economically, aquatically, and environmentally.
If we learn from our neighbors and embrace trying situations such as a drought, innovation can come out of it and we can create a more sustainable and productive society. In a way this alludes to learning from new friends at Exeter this summer. If we break out of our comfort zones and meet new people, we may dis- cover new things that can affect our own communities back home.