Israel's Water Company Adds 'Drought Tax'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Mekerot, Israel's national water authority, hopes a new tax on surplus water use will make Israelis think twice about wasting water.

The "Drought Tax" will add an additional four to five cents for every cubic meter of water over the allocated amount per household.

According to Mekerot, the average household of four uses 15 cubit meters of water each month at a cost of $1.99 per cubit meter.

The additional cost is meant to convince Israelis to conserve household water, which after five consecutive winters of below-average rainfall, is increasingly critical.

Sparse winter rains have depleted the nation's coastal aquifers and the water level of the Sea of Galilee, Israel's main source of sweet water.

Meanwhile, the Knesset, which has to approve the tax, wants Mekerot to increase household consumption level from 15 to between 16 and 20 cubic meters.

The Knesset would also like to delay implementing the tax until August or September, but Mekerot officials say summer is the country's most critical time for water consumption.

Mekerot also pointed out that the tax would affect only one-third of household consumers, who may be willing to reduce their consumption because of the additional cost, which is what's needed in drought conditions.

Source: YNet news

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