Tapping the Oceans
Show Less

Tapping the Oceans

Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water

Edited by Joe Williams and Erik Swyngedouw

Increasingly, water-stressed cities are looking to the oceans to fix unreliable, contested and over-burdened water supply systems. Desalination technologies are, however, also becoming the focus of intense political disagreements about the sustainable and just provision of urban water. Through a series of cutting-edge case studies and multi-subject approaches, this book explores the political and ecological debates facing water desalination on a broad geographical scale.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 4: On the implications of seawater desalination: some insights from the Israeli case

Eran Feitelson


With declining costs and rising water stress desalination may seem a panacea. However, desalination is imbued with contradictions. This chapter identifies these contradictions on the basis of the Israeli experience. To this end, the direct and indirect implications of desalination are outlined as they have been played out in Israel. The first contradiction is between supply augmentation and water conservation – desalination reduces perceptions of scarcity and hence readiness to conserve water. A second contradiction is environmental – desalination increases greenhouse gas emissions and affects marine life, while allowing more freshwater to be retained in nature and reducing vulnerability to climate change. A third contradiction regards control. While desalination has the potential to change zero-sum into positive-sum games, it alters power relations thereby generating opposition from parties that lose advantageous positions. Finally, while desalination is intended to alleviate shortages to households, it may preclude access by the weakest strata due to its price effects, thereby aggravating inequities.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.