Assessing Sustainability: The Societal Metabolism of Water in Israel
Volume 10, Number 4, June 2014 - Paper 6 - pp. 387-399
ZORA KOVACICInstitut de Ciencia i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, SPAIN
(Received on Aug.29, 2013, revised on Sept.23 and Nov. 29, 2013, and finally on Jan.27, 2014)
Water management in Israel faces significant challenges in terms of physical scarcity and ecosystem stability, due to the increasing water demand for irrigation and drinking and the prominent role of water in environmental conflicts. Defining sustainability in this context requires an analytical framework that can handle non-equivalent descriptive domains, namely the social, economic and environmental dimensions, and multiple spatial and temporal scales of analysis. This paper provides an integrated assessment of bio-physical and socio-economic factors in order to generate a more holistic vision of societal metabolism and water use in Israel. Results show how the current metabolic pattern is sustained thanks to the generation of an economic surplus, which makes it possible to cope with water and land scarcity through imports. A set of indicators is used to show how the assessment of the feasibility, viability and desirability changes depending on the scale of analysis and on the values and beliefs considered.
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