Cities warned on water law breaches

Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo has been warned by the Israel Water Authority to stop watering the city's gardens during the day.

Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo has been warned by the Israel Water Authority to stop watering the city's gardens during the day and to abide by national watering laws, reports The authority said it had been notified that Kfar Saba was breaching the law by allowing public gardens to be watered during daylight hours, and said it could not allow such breaches to continue during this "difficult hour" in Israel's water situation. Recently, the government officially declared 2008 a drought year because of the paucity of rain last winter. "We ask you immediately to stop the watering of gardens during daytime hours, to respect the law, and to assist in enforcing the efficient and thrifty use of water," said the authority's letter addressed to Ben Hamo, and added that if the breaches continued legal action would be taken "without any further warning." No response was reported from Ben Hamo's office. But Kfar Saba was not the only city taken to task for illegal watering. According to reports in, Herzliya is reportedly continuing to water its gardens during the day despite several public complaints, with the latest offense noted being at 2 p.m. at the municipal park. A Water Authority spokesman said Herzliya had been caught breaching watering laws more than once and had even been fined as a result. The spokesman said the city was acting negligently and should be careful, as local authorities that wasted large amounts of water could cause their own residents to be penalized, with the authority placing a blanket prohibition on watering of all gardens, including private gardens. A municipal spokesman said new grass had been planted in the park, necessitating one immediate watering. And Hod Hasharon residents have also been complaining that their city is watering gardens, and with large quantities of water, during daylight hours, and several even produced photographic evidence. One resident said that while flowers and grass were pretty, the city could live without them in such a difficult year and native plants which consumed much less water could be planted instead. But a municipal spokesman responded that Hod Hasharon was "one of the most water-thrifty authorities in Israel," and although it had recently planted grass at the new Sportek center, which required watering three times a day for the first two weeks, this amount of water would soon be reduced.