Desalination Plant 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
While the former head of the Water Authority told Channel 2 news on Wednesday
evening that Israel has emerged from its water crisis, statistics from the
authority itself tell a different story.
Prof. Uri Shani, who left the
authority a few months ago after four years on the job, announced that due to
the country’s progress in desalinization, and an increase in this year’s
rainfall, there is no longer a crisis.
Despite rains, water situation not much better
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“I can say with caution that the
water crisis has ended,” Shani, now a professor at the Hebrew University’s
Department of Water and Soil Sciences, told Channel 2. “The main reason is not
the rain of course, it is the desalinization facilities that Israel is building
at perhaps the greatest speed in the world. Also, the recent water conservation
practices of Israel, together with the important – although small – boost that the rain has provided us, has helped us reach an era in which we don’t have a
“Until the end of winter, we were in a situation where we
were afraid of a much more severe drought, and prepared a series of emergency
Draconian steps, such as the prohibition of watering gardens,” he continued.
“Today it is possible to say that this will not be forbidden. The existential
danger from an unprecedented lack of water no longer exists.”
Authority said, however, that due to the six consecutive years of drought, we
are currently missing close to one billion cubic meters of water, and still have
not achieved an average amount of precipitation this year, according to
spokesman Uri Schor. By the end of April, Israel had still only accumulated 89
percent of the average rainfall, a report from the authority said.
past winter was an average winter altogether,” Schor told The Jerusalem Post on
Wednesday night. “In the North it was a bit better than average, but in the
Center and South, it was less than average, and the consumption is larger than
the average rainfall that we get every year.
“The situation in the water
reserves of Israel – the Kinneret, the mountain and coastal aquifers – is still
very, very critical,” he added. “We will be under the red line this summer in
all three main reserves.”
On Channel 2, Shani meanwhile said that the
country will not see a drop in water prices, explaining that “water is
expensive” and that “there is no choice; we live in the desert.
end, all of us have learned that water is valuable and that it shouldn’t be
wasted because if we do waste it, the scarcity will return,” Shani
The Water Authority couldn’t comment on whether the country could
see a drop in water prices, but Schor explained, however, that “the price is
determined by law – the law says that the price must reflect the cost of the
water. The more you desalinate and treat, etc., the higher the price is. Water
“We are definitely on the right track by now: we already
have three huge desalinization plants that produce an amount of water that is
equivalent to 40% of the total water that is going to households and cities, and
by the end of 2013 we will desalinate a quantity of water that will reach
approximately 70%,” Schor said.
“Therefore, we are on the right track.
But we are still lacking huge amounts of water, and we will be between the red
and the black line in the water reserves.”
While Schor wouldn’t pinpoint
whether Israel is in fact currently in a state of “crisis,” he said, “if next
winter will be a drought winter, we will be in a crisis. We all hope that next
winter will be better than this one, but regardless of that we must continue
using water wisely.”