Comptroller: Water Authority missed desalination target

Water desalination, photo: PR

Israel's State Comptroller says water to farms and households could be cut.

Israel's current water crisis could have been averted by better long-term planning and management of the country's water, despite four consecutive winters of drought, concludes a special report by the State Comptroller. The financial damage to Israel's economy by the shortfall in the required water could cost about NIS 1.1 billion annually.

The report says, "The Water Authority is charged with the responsibility for the country's most important natural resource but has for years managed the water in a way that is not suitable for the scale of responsibility that it entails."

The 90-page report details a series of flawed managerial decisions that led to farmers having their water quotas cut last January.

The report says that the Water Authority has not met the government target set in 2008 for the amount of water to be produced by desalination plants by 2020. Moreover, the Water Authority lowered the target without government approval and consequently, the sixth desalination plant will not be completed by 2020, meaning that farmers will continue to have their water quotas reduced and households might be affected too. Israel's five desalination plants currently produce 585 million cubic meters of water annually while the 2020 target is 750 million cubic meters.

The Water Authority claims that government policy was to produce up to 750 million cubic meters of water by 2020 and not necessarily 750 million cubic meters.

The tender for the sixth desalination plant has yet to be issued and it takes on average seven years to plan and complete such a plant.

The Water Authority is also accused of not preparing a masterplan as required by a government decision in 2010. The Authority has also let reservoirs and the Sea of Galilee reach such low levels that damage could be caused to these natural resources.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 22, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

Water desalination, photo: PR
Water desalination, photo: PR
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