Israel:Water to farmers will be cut by 50% : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Wednesday, August 16, 2000 Water to farmers will be cut by 50%

By Amiram Cohen Ha'aretz Agriculture Correspondent

The government wants to cut the water quota for agricultural use by 50 percent in 2001, after an already steep cut of 40 percent this year, according to an agreement reached by the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture and the Water Commission in the National Infrastructure Ministry. The proposal will be put forward for cabinet approval within a few days.

The water cut will be implemented even if the coming winter season (2000-2001) yields average or above-average rainfall. In the event of a dry winter, the cut could reach 75 percent of the normal quota.

Yossi Yishai, the Agriculkture Ministry's director-general, said the ministry will prepare an estimate of the losses and damage that will accrue to agriculture and the food-processing industry by the cut. Yishai predicted that loss of income and direct losses from dried up orchards, hothouses and fields would total NIS 2 billion. Farmers are still to receive NIS 160 million for the damage they sustained as a result of the water cut in 2000.

Some 10,000 agricultural sector workers, both self-employed and salaried, will lose their jobs under a 50 percent water cut, says the ministry. Industries that are directly and indirectly connected to agriculture will also be badly hit, in contrast to the situation in previous water cuts.

The government has allocated NIS 3 billion to develop new water sources. However, even if this investment proves fruitful, it will take five years before results are seen. These alternative sources, including purified sewerage, saline water treatment and capturing floodwaters, will enable farmers to forgo about half of the annual quota of 900 million cubic meters of water.

As part of the plan to move the agricultural sector to the use of non-potable water, grants of up to 30 percent will be given to farmers who uproot avocado groves and orchards with low yields and replace them with more profitable crops.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 16, 2000


This is scarry to me since the potential for it happening here in the good ole bread belt USA is so real. With fuel transports of MTBE ladden gasoline crisscrossing our countryside, global warming taking its toll on India, Russia and China, and finally admission by our illustrious world scientists that ozone depletion is steadily becoming worse, here we sit with what may be a good example of what we are in for here in just a few years or months.

And still our leaders are silent and the press sleeps.

-- Ken Price (, August 16, 2000.

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