Jordan River 521.
(photo credit: Daniel Easterman)
The Water Authority has instituted a temporary ban on public and private garden
irrigation, which it says will be key to water conservation efforts in an era of
rapid water loss and drought.
The four-month prohibition – which began on
December 1 and will last through April 1 – has occurred annually since around
2001 and forbids all types of garden-watering, except in areas that fall between
the southern tip of Israel and a borderline called the “minority rains
According to a map on the Water Authority website, this line
begins at Israel’s western border just north of the Sufa border crossing, and
heads eastward north of Tze’elim, Hatzerim, Beersheba, Kasif and Arad. It then
wraps around northward along the western coast of the Dead Sea and ending right
below Yafit before hitting Jordan, but includes Tomer, Na’omi, Nahal Elisha,
Vered Yeriho, Almog, Kalya, Mitzpe Shalem and Ein Gedi within its minority
precipitation – and therefore acceptable-to-irrigate – bounds.
line toward the North you must not water at all because it’s winter – and when
there is winter, there is rain,” Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor told The
Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, noting that the rule applies to gardens only, not
potted plants inside the home.
In addition to continuing to institute
this ordination, the Water Authority has provided “10 useful tips for saving
water” during the months of April through November, when irrigating gardens is
once again permitted. These guidelines include watering plants with sprinklers
before 6 a.m., when there is no breeze; raising plants that are known to be
frugal with water; allocating the amount of water necessary for irrigation
according to the weather; equipping the garden with a computerized irrigation
monitor; and covering the ground with copious amounts of soil to prevent
In addition, the Water Authority suggests dividing gardens
into sections according to watering needs; increasing the space between plants
to strengthen their individual absorption; mowing lawns frequently; pruning
unnecessary landscape; and using compost.
“Private gardens and public
lawns are green lungs for all of us,” the authority guidelines say.
year’s irrigation ban comes at a time when both Dead Sea and Kinneret water
levels are incredibly low. As of December 1, the Dead Sea’s water level was
measured at 425.36 meters below sea level, a drop in 17 centimeters for the
month – following drops of 11 and 10 centimeters in October and September,
“Seventeen is quite drastic,” Schor said. “It was a very
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, the Kinneret sat at 213.69
meters below sea level, still 69 centimeters below the body of water’s bottom
red line. During this November’s rainy week, the Kinneret rose by one
centimeter, two weekends ago it dropped by half a centimeter, and last weekend,
by a full centimeter, according to Schor.
“The last seven years of
drought left our main sources of water with a loss of 1.5 billion cubic meters
of water,” he said. “Therefore, we need a lot of rain and to continue
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