Yeroham water plant 311.
(photo credit: Avri Kadmon, JNF)
Forecasts for the first part of the coming winter are exceedingly grim, Water
Authority head Prof. Uri Shani told the audience at the Water Corporations
Conference in Airport City on Sunday.
“Right now, we could be looking at
a harder year than any we’ve seen so far [in six years of drought]. Whoever
thought that we were in dire straits last year but that that situation had
passed from the world – it hasn’t,” Shani said.
According to him, the
country had a hard time supplying its citizens with all of the water they needed
“There were three things that reduced demand last year –
public awareness campaigns, the water corporations’ efforts and the drought
levy. If demand doesn’t drop and the winter is very bad, then we will have to
bring the drought levy back in some form or other,” he warned.
drought levy was an additional NIS 20 charge for every cubic meter of water used
above a certain level. It was in effect for half of 2009 and then indefinitely
frozen by the Knesset in December. When it was in effect, household water use
dropped by 15 percent.
According to American and European forecasts for
the first part of winter, this year could be worse than the previous six years,
Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor elaborated to The Jerusalem Post
sidelines of the conference.
The forecasts only cover the first half of winter, so the outlook for the entire season is not clear, he
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
Rainfall last year hovered around average but the numbers from the
previous five years were well below that mark.
Schor marveled that the
country had managed to meet demand, calling it “almost a miracle.”
Israeli water economy is very tightly managed compared to most in the
said. Most of Israel’s neighbors do not have continuous water supply all
The Water Authority is distributing 2 million water saving devices
for faucets that will save 25 million cubic meters of water a year.
equivalent of a fifth of one of the large desalination plants. The
also continuing to run its ad campaigns featuring a woman cracking into
as the nation dries up.
However, the Water Authority and the government
are counting on the desalination plants, which have begun to dot the
stabilize the water situation.
“Right now, 40% of water to households
comes from desalination plants,” Schor said. “By 2013, 70% will come
That buffer will allow the natural aquifers and
Lake Kinneret to fill up again with at least part of the rain during
The aquifers and Lake Kinneret have reached dangerously low levels
that just barely avoided contaminating the natural reservoirs
Shani added that one of the national priorities was to
rehabilitate polluted water. Many wells and parts of the aquifers are
At present, desalination plants in Hadera, Ashkelon and
Palmahim are all pumping out potable water. Additional plants are
Sorek and Ashdod. The Ashdod plant has been repeatedly delayed because
disputes between the Mekorot national water company and the Treasury. A
subsidiary will be building the Ashdod plant.
“Even when all the
desalination plants are built, we’ll still need to be smart about our
not go overboard – we live in the Middle East after all,” Schor said.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>