Knesset panel approves new drinking water rules
New regulations intended to bring higher quality drinking water to every Israeli; Shas MK calls decision "historic."
Tap Photo: thinkstock
The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday approved
regulations intended to bring higher quality drinking water to every
“This is a historic moment,” said MK Amnon Cohen (Shas),
chairman of the committee. “Approval of water regulations will ensure water
quality will be at the highest level of international standards for residents of
The new standards will update the previous Public Health
Regulations on sanitary quality of drinking water, established in 1974, and will
place more stringent requirements on water quality, according to the committee.
The rules are based on the findings of a committee appointed in 2003 and headed
by Health Ministry director- general Prof. Avner Adin, which focused on bringing
the regulations up to an international level.
Key changes include an
obligation of the water supplier to test water taps in individual homes and
institutions at the request of the consumer. Publication of information
regarding water quality on the supplier’s website will also be obligatory, as
will the need to immediately report any deviation from water quality
The regulations also call for the appointment of an advisory
committee on drinking water quality that will monitor the latest research on the
subject, and recommend conducting data collection in institutions containing
sensitive populations and in old buildings.
Inclusion of fluoride in
water will be allowed to continue for the next year, during which the Health
Ministry will conduct research about the practice.
One or more of the
country’s desalination plants will conduct a three-year pilot program in which
the facility adds magnesium to desalinated water, after which its management
will report results to the ministry and the advisory committee.
Health Ministry said it was proud that the regulations had been approved, which
would bring Israel’s citizens the highest quality of drinking water. The
regulations add 40 substances to the list of chemicals tested for in water, and
will not allow for the presence of even one coliform bacterium in 10 milliliters
Meanwhile, training and accreditation of all personnel engaged
in water sanitation will be mandatory, according to the ministry.
Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) praised the approval, saying
that its staff members had spearheaded more than 10 years of public campaigns
and High Court of Justice petitions on the subject.
“Today there is a
demand for drinking water quality checks more frequently and for sanitation
surveys of all water facilities for the early discovery of problems,” said Sarit
Caspi, head of water at Adam Teva V’Din.
Adam Teva V’Din has long been
petitioning the High Court to mandate the new regulations, which the
organization said would ensure the protection of anyone who drinks tap water, as
well as determine standards for checking water contaminants, in accordance with
the policies of the World Health Organization, the European Union and the US
Environmental Protection Agency.
Within the new regulations are items
specifically suggested by Adam Teva V’Din, including increased transparency
regarding cases of contamination, as well as provisions to allow ordinary
citizens to ask their water supplier to sample their taps, the organization
“We praise the committee’s chairman MK Amnon Cohen for his thorough
and professional work and the Environmental Protection Ministry on the approval
of the regulations,” said Amit Bracha, executive director of Adam Teva
“Today it was determined that the right to suitable quality
drinking water will not only be within reach of people who are capable of
improving their drinking water by means of filtering apparatuses and mineral
Bracha called the regulations an “important advance in
environmental social justice,” a step that would allow all residents of Israel
equal access to proper drinking water.