The Water Authority recently signed an agreement with the Hevel Eilot Regional Council for the establishment of a NIS 100 million water network that will facilitate a reliable supply of drinking water to Arava households.Implementation of the agreement will, for the first time, connect Arava and Kikar Sdom residents to a quality water supply equivalent to the standards accepted throughout the rest of the country, the Water Authority said.The authority will finance 90 percent of the overhaul costs through a state-approved budget, with the remaining 10% coming from independent and community financing. Rehabilitation plans will be designed throughout 2014, the authority added.The local water supplies in the Arava are from brackish water sources that do not meet drinking- water quality standards, the Water Authority explained. In the absence of suitable local water sources and because desalination options are limited and expensive, the communities have established their own water networks. Small desalination systems near the community entrances supply drinking water to household faucets, while residents use brackish water for all other household purposes, such as gardening, showering and flushing toilets.To enable the flow of quality water to households, a separation of existing networks within the communities must occur, followed by a replacement of the current supply systems, which are not suitable for providing the necessary amount of water, according to the authority. This process alone requires an investment of about NIS 30m.The separation of networks within communities is being carried out in collaboration with the Hevel Eilot Regional Council and the Central Arava Regional Council.Several communities have already finished undergoing the separation of internal water networks, among them Paran, Hatzeva, Ein Yahav, Neot Smadar and Sapir. In the coming days, work will also begin in Eilot, Neveh Harif, Samar, Elifaz, Yotvata, Grofit, Ketura and Lotan, the Water Authority said.Some of the communities will be connected to existing desalination facilities, and Kikar Sdom communities will be connected to a water line that is already being assembled, one that will connect the Arava area to the national water system, the authority added.Following the implementation of the Water Authority’s overall plan for the central and southern Arava, the northern Arava and below will be connected to the national water system, while the southern Arava will be connected to a desalination plant at the Red Sea, the Water Authority added.