Israel's water shortage to intensify due to dry winter

Monday, September 06, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff  

Forecasts by American and European meteorologists suggest that Israel and the rest of the Middle East will experience its driest winter in more than six years.

That is cause for great concern in Israel, considering that the past six years have not exactly been abundant in terms of rainfall. In fact, Israel is in the midst of an ongoing six-year drought.

Water Authority (Mekorot) officials told those attending the Water Corporations Conference near Tel Aviv on Sunday that it was "almost a miracle" that Israel was able to maintain continuous water supply to its citizens over the past several years.

If the coming winter is as dry as meteorologists predict, Israel may become like its Arab neighbors, where locals regularly go through periods when water is only supplied to their homes during certain hours of the day.

The one hope Israel has for the coming winter is that the current forecasts only deal with the first half of the season. If rainfall picks up from January 2011 through the end of the winter, Israel is likely to again just barely meets its citizens' water needs.

In the meantime, the Water Authority is preparing to again launch a campaign of public awareness and maybe reinstate the drought levy, which reduced water consumption in 2009 by 15 percent by charging Israelis an additional $5 USD for every cubic meter of water used over a certain limit.

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