It was a busy Friday morning at the town's supermarket. I'm no beer drinker – it's an acquired taste I never acquired – but there I was with all "the guys", with no less than three six-packs in my shopping cart.

How did it happen? Well pull up a chair and listen to the story.

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When I awoke at 5:15 the water pressure was low, causing me to take more time in washing up and brushing teeth and all the other morning ablutions. By 7:30 the water pressure was down from a steady stream to an unsteady drizzle. Before leaving the house at 7:55 the water was coming out in a drip: drip, drip, drop – stop. No more.


Friday is the most intensive water-day of the week: the laundry, the chicken soup cooked, showers, the hot water boiler for coffee for the next 25 hours filled and bottles of water placed in the fridge all before the advent of the Shabbat (Sabbath).

Asking neighbors I found out that it was the entire community's problem, and that the higher up you lived – geographically – the sooner you had less or no water.

"What's the problem?" I asked. They directed me to read the letter the town council had sent on the community's website.

I went home to read the letter. The problem was simple: the main water pipe-line we drink from, as do all the Jewish communities in the local area as well as some Arab communities attached to our line, some legally and some not, comes from two sources of underground water in the area, and those no longer contain enough water to suffice for the population that has grown in the last twenty five years.

The solution was also simple… theoretically: connect the area to the main Israeli water system with a wide pipe coming up to the hills from the coastal area. That would supply enough water for all the people in the area, Jews and Arabs.

There may be some in the world who'd prefer that people suffer water shortages rather than connect the area to the national Israeli water system. They'd prefer that Jews receive no water, since they think all Jews should be ethnically cleansed from the area anyway, and they'd prefer Arabs be photographed as poor victims lacking water because of the evil Jewish settlers, rather than receiving water.

Of course the truth was that we in the Jewish communities in the area also have a water problem. However, because of the corruption and inefficiency of the Palestinian Authority – some of our Arab neighbors may suffer more: the PA doesn't renew their water-pipes that lose 20% - 60% of the water to leakage (compared to 13% in Israeli pipes), and they don't drill for water where they are supposed to according to the Oslo Accords they signed.

But assuming the world cares about actual people, rather than an abstract "the People", the best thing for Arabs and Jews in the area is to be linked to the Israeli water system.

However – that would take five years and 500 million shekels! In the meantime the Israeli water company is looking to drill a new water well that will serve the needs of the increased population in my area. That will take just… months.

In the meantime – the town council's letter informed us that throughout the summer there would probably be periodic water shortages and stoppages.

Their advice was to use as little water as possible between 15:00 and 23:00, when everyone is at home. In other words – wake up, shower, and do your laundry at two o'clock in the night! The other piece of advice was to buy bottled water, to make sure there's an emergency supply for drinking water.

So there we were, filling our carts with six-packs… of mineral water, just in case, swapping stories of the great snowstorm a few years ago, when we lost electricity, water and phone connections. Some had stayed throughout the modern times' ordeal; others scrambled for family and friends with heat and light. We speculated as to how Shabbat without water would be (chicken soup made from cola?). Luckily – the water came back in time to shower for Shabbat - and prepare that chicken soup.


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