Israeli consumers will pay 25 percent more for water starting January 1, and prices are scheduled to increase at least another 25 percent over the coming year.
Water prices will increase an additional 16 percent and 2 percent on July 1 and January 1, 2011, respectively. The billing structure may also be revamped requiring consumers to pay the national water carrier, Mekorot, rather than their local authorities, resulting in the addition of a 16.5 percent sales tax.
Currently, Israelis pay around $2 per cubic meter of water. By comparison, Americans on average pay less than $1 per cubic meter of water.
Prof. Uri Shani, head of Israel's Water Authority, said the high prices will likely stay in place for at least three years to encourage greater water conservation and save the country from a debilitating drought.