Israel sees desalination as Sea of Galilee's saviour
By Dan Williams
Long periods of drought and over-pumping have brought the lake low. A reedy island has materialised at its southern edge, and will soon be a peninsula. Holiday-makers and fishermen teeter over expanding boggy beaches to reach the waterline.
The depletion imperils Israel's biggest reservoir, starving the River Jordan and Dead Sea. It also diminishes a landmark that rivals Jerusalem as a major draw for Christian pilgrims.
Israel sees a solution in desalination, in which it is a world leader. It plans to double the amount of Mediterranean seawater it processes and pipe half of it 75 kilometres (47 miles) away to the Galilee.
Preserving the lake would free Israel to offer Jordan more water under a 1994 peace treaty.
"If there is irreversible damage done to the Sea of Galilee, to the Jordan, to this whole ecosystem, Israel's enemies could use it against her," said David Parsons, vice president of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which oversees evangelical outreach to Israel.