The Water Authority announced on Wednesday further plans to reduce water tariffs beginning in July, following a previous decrease in rates that occurred in January.As of July 1, water rates will be lowered by 0.14 percent of the current water rate – which stands at NIS 8.89 per cubic meter including tax for light users and NIS 14.31 per cubic meter for heavy users, the Water Authority said. This reduction will join a previous decrease in January, making the total reduction for 2014 about 5.25% in comparison to the year before.The Water Authority is able to update water prices twice a year, on January 1 and July 7. On January 1, 2014, the authority implemented its first decrease following successive increases in tariffs for years. "The trend of lowering the water rate continues," said Water Authority director and chairman, Alexander Kushnir. "The Water Authority, in coordination with government agencies, is increasing its efficiency efforts in all components of the water sector and is reducing subsidies, which will lead to an additional decrease in the costs of the water sector, and as a result, a further reduction in consumer tariffs." This latest attempt to strengthen and stabilize water rates was made possible by widespread streamlining efforts across the water sector, the authority said. In late May, the Water Authority announced the completion of the first phase of a program to increase efficiency in local water and sewage corporations, a move that the authority estimated would save Israel NIS 98 million in 2014. Major components of this program will include reducing manpower and canceling agreements with contracts, as well as decreasing lease costs, improving customer service, changing management approaches and rehabilitating infrastructure, the authority said.