Terry Spragg, inventor of the Spraggbag, sent me an e-mail responding to my previous posting on Water, Peace and the Middle East. I thought it worth sharing.
Using waterbag technology to transport Turkish water to Israel and Palestine can eliminate many of the political and economic issues raised in your recent editorial, and by Dr. Shuval, in your comments on the excellent NEW YORK TIMES editorial, “Water for Peace” (July 13, 2009) written by Stanley Weiss.
(Your readers can visit YouTube and insert the words, “Spragg Bag” in the selection box to see a video of television news coverage of a demonstration of this technology, or link to www.waterbag.com for photos and more information. For more a more detailed analysis of the economic and political possibilities that will result from a successful waterbag operation in the Middle East, your readers may want to read the selections from the novel, WATER, WAR AND PEACE, that appear on this website.)
“Spragg Bag” technology can be visualized as a modular fabric pipeline that can easily and inexpensively move large quantities of water through the ocean in an environmentally safe manner, using large waterbags connected together in long waterbag trains with the world’s strongest zipper. Waterbag economics are easy to calculate. Waterbag technology is easy to demonstrate. It is the politics of waterbag technology that is the most difficult issue that needs to be addressed.
As Prime Minister Netanyahu has correctly analyzed, Peace will not come to the Middle East without the development of a viable Palestinian economy.
A viable Palestinian economy cannot be developed without a reliable and economic water supply.
Transporting Turkish water to Israel and Palestine using waterbag technology is the least expensive and most politically viable way to develop a new water supply for the region.
This is an easy and inexpensive theory to demonstrate and calculate.
Dr. Shuval’s $0.50/m3 cost for desalinated water produced at the Ashkelon plant does not include capital costs, which would almost double this $0.50/m3 cost for desalinated water. An email from Saul Arlosoroff (Director of Mekorot and Chairman of its Finance/Economic Committee) to David Brooks (Friends of the Earth, Canada) confirms this statement. The Ashkelon plant received special financing considerations and natural gas concessions which are not available for the development of the new desalination plants currently under construction and being proposed in Israel.
Using Dr. Shuval’s economics, waterbag technology could deliver water from Turkey to Israel and Palestine in the $0.30/m3 to $0.40/m3 range.
Israel would prefer not to rely on Turkey as a source for some of its water supply. All nations would like to be water independent. However, military and trade relations between Turkey and Israel remain strong (setting aside the brief discussion between Erdogan and Peres at the recent World Water Forum in Israel).
Israel transports most of its energy from sources outside its boundaries using the seas. Water transports using the seas should be no different. The United States seems to be willing to protect Israel’s energy supplies. Protecting Israel’s water supplies should be no different.
Israel proposes to build desalination plants to produce water for the Palestinians. If the Palestinians are expected to rely on Israel for the development of a new water supply it would seem that Israel should be comfortable in relying on an outside source for a portion of its water supply.
Waterbags delivered directly to the Palestinians can avoid this dependency issue. The United States should commit to defending both these water supply transport systems in the name of national security.
Israel can use shipments of Turkish water directly to the Palestinians as a test case for Israel’s analysis of the economic and technical reliability of waterbag technology before it makes a commitment to purchase Turkish water.
The Palestinian concern that by accepting water from another source before it resolves its dispute with Israel over control of the West Bank and Gaza aquifers can be put to rest by using waterbag technology. Israel should agree that transporting Turkish water to Palestine is only a test case to prove the economic and technical reliability of waterbag technology for both parties. The acceptance of Turkish water by the Palestinians should have no relationship to the current dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the water in the West Bank and Gaza aquifers.
As the drought in the Middle East continues this argument should gain more acceptance by both parties.
Past failures of waterbag technology can easily be overcome by implementing a demonstration voyage of “Spragg Bag” technology between Turkey and Israel. This demonstration voyage plan has been presented by Gershon Baskin (co-founder  of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information [IPCRI], and a representative of Spragg & Associates) to various Israeli, Turkish, Palestinian, Jordanian and American government and business representatives. If the political leaders in the region will publically announce their support for a demonstration of “Spragg Bag” technology in the Middle East to the media, then a demonstration of this technology should be able to be implemented with ZERO COST to the region’s governments.
Stanley Weiss is 100% correct in calling for the United States to take a leadership role in helping to develop a secure water supply for the Israelis and the Palestinians. Water is becoming the most critical national security issue facing the nations of the Middle East, and therefore a critical national security issue for the United States.
The insidious nature of drought in the Middle East poses a major challenge for America’s security interests throughout the region. American political and business leaders must be wise enough to anticipate these events.
As the drought in the Middle East continues, and recognizing that water may become the most explosive issue to be faced between the Israelis and the Palestinians, perhaps the Business Executives for National Security, lead by Stanley Weiss, will be able to take an active leadership role in gaining America’s political and technical support for demonstrating how water can be transported as a tool for helping to bring “Water for Peace” in the Middle East.
Terry also sent me a number of documents related to his comments. These include: