Israel farmers water quotas to be reduced again : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Farmers' fresh water quotas to be reduced by further 30 percent By Amiram Cohen, Ha'aretz Correspondent Minister of National Infrastructure Avigdor Lieberman on Monday ordered the Water Commission to prepare cutting farmers' fresh water quotas by an additional 30 percent.

The quotas have already been cut by 50 percent to 500 million cubic meters a year; cutting an additional 30 percent from the original 1 billion cubic meter figure will reduce the quotas to 200 million cubic meters.

The 1 billion cubic meter allowance was set in 1989. In practice, however, the quota has been cut by 50 percent in each of the last two years.

Lieberman issued the order after a water crisis meeting Monday at which the Water Commission delivered a gloomy forecast for this winter's rainfall. Preliminary forecasts indicate that winter rainfall will be similar to that of last winter and will be insufficient to replenish Israel's badly drained water sources. Lieberman concluded therefore that a further cut in the farmers' quotas may be necessary to avoid either turning off the tap to regular households or permanently damaging water sources.

In an initial step, the minister decided to set up an interministerial task force, with representatives from the Agriculture, Finance and Infrastructure Ministries, to examine the economic and budgetary impact of such a reduction, including the amount of compensation that would have to be paid to farmers.

Lieberman noted that several neighboring countries have coped with the regional drought by severely restricting the household water supply. In some Jordanian cities, houses have running water only 18 hours a week, he said, while in Damascus, the quota is six hours a day. If Israel does not institute drastic alternative water-saving measures immediately, he warned, it will soon be forced to do the same. "We are already very close to this point," he said.

In response, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon protested that the agriculture sector could not survive on 200 million cubic meters a year of fresh water. Lieberman's decision, he said, would mean "the final and complete destruction of agriculture in Israel."

Simhon also said it was too early to be making such panic-inducing announcements since winter is still far off.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 20, 2001


From the archives 1 year ago.

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.



-- Martin Thompson (, August 20, 2001.

Water-saving regulations now being enforced By David Rudge

JERUSALEM (August 22) - Aerial reconnaissance is being considered as a way to help Water Commissioners' Office wardens enforce water- saving regulations, which took effect yesterday.

The idea of using aerial observers has been floated due to a shortage of supervisors - only six to cover the whole country. An additional five are to be hired in the near future.

Officials are aware of the problem and, for the time being, are relying on the conscience of the public and local authorities to ensure observance of the new laws.

A WCO official confirmed that aerial supervision had been considered previously to enforce the proposed total ban on irrigation of all public and private parks and gardens. The ban, however, was torpedoed by the Knesset Economics Committee, in the face of outright opposition from the Union of Local Authorities in Israel, the Gardeners Association, and other interested groups.

Instead, the committee approved regulations banning irrigation of gardens except from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. or by drip irrigation systems.

It was also agreed to ban the washing of cars or paved areas with hoses and to prohibit car washes operating without water recycling systems. The latter regulation is only due to take effect on November 8, but the others went into effect yesterday.

The committee also approved a ban on the establishment of new public parks and gardens or the planting of lawns or flower beds on traffic islands or alongside roads.

Those found breaking the irrigation regulations face fines of up to NIS 9,600, and those breaching the hose ban up to NIS 2,400.

A team of WCO wardens toured Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Be'er Ya'acov and Savyon yesterday to begin enforcing the regulations.

WCO officials said the supervisors had found a number of people in the Savyon, which was recently cited as being top of the list of water guzzling regions, watering their gardens with sprinklers and hoses. They said the offenders were let off with a warning.

Otherwise, the officials said the supervisors had been pleasantly surprised that all the areas inspected were abiding by the regulations.

Local authorities have unhappy at the idea of using municipal wardens to enforce the regulations, and some have refused.

Nevertheless, the officials expressed satisfaction that local authorities and the public seem to understand the need to save water.

"Wardens also visited a number of car washes and, although the regulations concerning them do not take effect until November, it was apparent that most of them have made preparations and many already have water recycling systems," said WCO spokesman Amir Shakarov.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 22, 2001.

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