We have developed a model for planning water supply from diverse sources, including groundwater, the National Water Carrier, wastewater and seawater. The model integrates hydrological, technological and economic considerations, and estimates the economic and environmental impacts of alternative water management policies; it was implemented in a case study of the Emek Heffer and northern Sharon regions in Israel. A unique hydrological database was constructed and a hydrological model was developed for planning water resources use and forecasting the chloride concentration in the aquifer. The costs of desalination processes and of the water supply to the region under various scenarios were estimated. The results include recommendations for the water treatment level and for desalination of different water sources, and forecasts of the implementation costs. We conclude that the economic cost of improving the quality of the supplied water and of the aquifer water should be considered in decision making.
Keywords: groundwater salinity, multi-disciplinary models, economics, desalination, wastewater, seawater, Israel, water resources management, water shortage, water supply planning, irrigation, hydrological database, hydrological modelling, chloride concentrations, aquifer, water treatment, water quality