Israel faces severe water crisis

Monday, January 28, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli National Infrastructures Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned the cabinet on Sunday that Israel is on the verge of suffering a major water crisis.

In a joint presentation with Water Authority Dir.-Gen. Uri Shani, Ben-Eliezer said that last year only 55 percent of expected rainfall actually fell in Israel, resulting in an extreme drought year.

The lack of rainfall has resulted in the Sea of Galilee dropping to less than two feet above its bottom red line.

Among the short-term recommendations offered to the cabinet were increasing the amount of fresh water currently produced by Israel's desalination plants, reducing the amount of fresh water allocated to farmers, launching a nationwide water-saving campaign, and imposing limits on the amount of water that can be used for private and public gardens and parks.

In the long-term, Israel plans to build several more desalination plants that will eventually provide the bulk of the Jewish state's water needs.

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