Cabinet adopts national emergency water plan

Ministers also approve Clean Air Act.

Kinneret 224.88 (photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
Kinneret 224.88
(photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
In a day kind to the environment, the cabinet unanimously adopted a national emergency water plan on Sunday, and then approved the Israel Clean Air Act as government legislation. The emergency water plan will be spearheaded by the National Infrastructures Ministry and the Water Authority's comprehensive proposal to manage the country's severe water crisis. One billion shekels over five years was budgeted to increase the treatment of sewage water and to boost the supply of desalinated water to 750 million cubic meters by 2020. Both ministries will also receive funds to launch public relations campaigns encouraging water conservation. The cabinet also created a temporary inter-ministerial committee to assess why the country's water resources are not being properly developed and how to change that. May was Lake Kinneret's worst month since the National Water Carrier was established in 1964 - the lake dropped 43 cm. Only 60 cm. fell over the winter - a dismal showing and the fourth consecutive such winter. Also on Sunday, the Treasury announced an immediate tender for as much desalinated water as Israel's two operational desalination plants can handle. The Ashkelon plant currently produces 100 million cubic meters a year while the Palmahim plant produces 38 million cubic meters. Another 100 million cubic meters from a Hadera plant is set to come on line next year. The Clean Air Act was allowed to proceed after a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. Named after a similar act passed in the United States 38 years ago, the legislation will enforce standards intended primarily to reduce air pollution. The committee agreed to hold a final meeting to deal with any remaining objections before bringing it to a vote in the Knesset.