Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visited a mobile desalination unit on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday, the final day of Modi's historic 48-hour visit to Israel.
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With the visit making for some noteworthy images, Israelis were quick to poke fun at Netanyahu and Modi's day at the beach. One observer superimposed a picture of Chris Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, on one of the images and posted it on Facebook.
Modi and Netanyahu signed a series of economic agreements on Wednesday, including on water conservation, signaling the two countries’ determination to expand their defense ties into a broader trade relationship encompassing technology.
In recent years, Israel has pumped increasing quantities of water from the sea. The series of desalination plants built along the coast supplies a significant amount of water to the country’s homes, relieving Israel of the chronic water shortages it once endured.
This year, the country’s fifth desalination plant was erected in Ashdod. Along with the four older plants, some 582 million cubic meters of water will be produced annually – meeting about two-thirds of Israel’s domestic needs.
Israel's holistic, centralized water management is an inspiration to other nations struggling with water shortages – from thirsty areas in California to arid sites in Egypt.
But it's not all wine and roses: The desalination installations have brought new problems, too, such as the accumulative effect of large quantities of salt being dumped back into the sea as a by-product of the desalination process.