Israeli Politicians Wrangle over Drought Tax

water-golanIsrael’s aquifers may be overdrawn and the Dead Sea is dying, but that isn’t stopping legislators from trying to take the teeth out of a pending drought tax on water overconsumption.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a scaled water levy was supposed to go into effect on July 1. Israeli water bills fall into three tiers, with different rates for the amount of water used. The drought tax would jack up the cost of the highest use, 15 cubic meters a month. Bigger families would get higher allowances. But for now, the legislation has been postponed until August 1.Ynet reports that Knesset members want to delay the tax to as far as September, and that the Israeli Water Authority has pushed for implementation during the hot summer months. The paper reports that most parliamentarians oppose the tax and call it draconian; the Authority claims that only a third of Israeli households use more than 15 cubic meters a month.

We have laughed on this site about Israel’s less heavy-handed ways of managing water use, like commercials starring supermodel Bar Rafaeli. Hitting the public in their pockets may be the most effective strategy.

Blogger “A Mother in Israel” gave an interesting analysis of the water tax and how it will affect her family:

“Some haredi politicians objected saying that the tax will adversely effect large families, whose water bills might increase by hundreds of shekalim. But there’s no reason for large families to get a break beyond the 6 cubic meters a person. The larger your household, the more efficiently you should be using water. It doesn’t take that much more to wash a large pot than a small one.

According to our most recent bill for March and April, which included Pesach, we used 26 cubic meters. We are seven people, or eight when my son is home from yeshiva. That’s pretty good for a household with three to four teens. But taxes aside, I know I could cut my usage even more. Even without skipping the laundry and the cleaning.”

Image Credit: Esquire

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