I would say that the main problem is the destruction of the human capital in water engineering. The sole water engineering course in Technion was closed down about a decade ago and no young engineers are coming to the profession. The deficit was covered by the influx of Russian engineers a decade ago, but they are getting old too. The basic water planning organisms like TAHAL were disbanded and not replaced. We have no Water Master Plan for the last five or six years. Existing engineers survive selling domestic water purifiers, which are all snake oil remedies.
The second problem is the long term mismanagement of the resources. Hydrological data shows that the pumping of water had already exceeded the level of what is termed in hydrology the “safe yield” in the mid-sixties. Then followed the salinization process in practically all the major aquifers. On lowering the water table sea water and geological brines burst upward into the fresh water body. Over the years the demand for water has steadily increased. For example, in the past 12 years the increase in the demand was nearly 40 million cubic meters per year annually.
Overpumping and sewage reuse is causing the following effects:
a) Salinization by salt water intrusion, which eliminates at least 10 million cubic meters per year annually, thus reducing the availability of fresh water sources. As an example, nearly 20% of the coastal aquifer cannot be utilized due to salinity.
b) The volume of the operational reservoir has been reduced. This year the Sea of Galilee has been emptied to an all-time low exceeding the red danger line. The major source of the mountain aquifer is in a similar situation and has also almost reached the red line. And finally, in the major coastal aquifer, the reservoir has been reduced by several billion cubic meters of water.
c) Pollution: In municipal water uses some 100-120 milligrams of chlorine is added, with over 200 milligrams of total salts per liter. The re-use of sewage water and the infiltration of unused sewage have added over 200,000 tons of salts to the aquifers every year. Moreover, they have added nitrates, soluble organic materials, heavy metals and other chemicals, including carcinogenic ones. The exhaustion of the water resources and the recycling of sewage leaves no leaching or cleaning of the aquifers. In effect, this situation will lead to the gradual and complete destruction of water resources.
Technology will save us: Desalination. The problem is you need competent bureaucracy to implement it, which is not available.