This is the soon expected increase in the water rate

This is the soon expected increase in the water rate

The Subcommittee of the Economic Committee for Oversight of the Water Sector, chaired by MK Ze'ev Elkin, held a meeting today (Tuesday) that dealt with the latest decisions regarding the price of water and their effect on the stability of the water sector, as well as the water supply crisis in some of the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. During the discussion, the CEO stated The Water Authority, Yehezkel Lipshitz, that in January 2025 a 5-6 percent increase in the price of water is expected, and emphasized that the Authority is making an effort to mitigate this. The Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Yossi Dayan, commented on this and said that the entire tariff structure is being examined and that he is certain that it will be possible to moderate the increase in January as well.

Photo: Knesset Spokesperson

At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Elkin explained that he convened the discussion against the background of reports of the intervention of the Minister of Energy in the recession of the increase in the price of water and its consequences for projects in the water sector. He even asked for a reference to the bill that proposes to give the authority to set the price of water for agriculture to the Minister of Agriculture, and asked what this would mean on the rates, and also asked for reference to the fact that the residents of the Kfar Akab and Beit Hanina neighborhoods in Jerusalem do not receive a regular water supply.

The Director of the Water Authority and Chairman of the Council, Yehezkel Lipshitz, noted that the water tariff in Israel is one of the lowest in the OECD, and referred to the reduction of the tariff increase planned for this month. He explained that the reduction of the increase was made possible through a number of steps, including updating the desalination forecast. However, he estimated that In the next update of the tariff, January 2025, there will be an increase of 5-6 percent, but he emphasized that efforts are being made to moderate the increase. Regarding the bill that deals with the water tariff for agriculture, he said: “Oppose this bill. The artificial determination of the water rate for agriculture in the legislation may cause more harm than good. If it is used on the general water system, it will raise the rate by about 5%.”

Water referent in the budget department at the Treasury, Lehi Tselal, also commented on the bill and said that it has no budgetary source, but the water tariff. “We did not agree to the tariff clause. We agreed to the reflection of the costs for the sewage consumer. One of the strengths of the economy is that it is closed and can finance itself,” she said.

The Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Yossi Dayan, said that in a reformed world, the Authority should have received a certificate of merit for having succeeded in preventing the increase in the water rate. “One of my main duties of the ministry and the minister is to do everything in our power to prevent increases in water and electricity rates. If I were to raise my hand in favor of a 7.7% increase, I would be remiss in my duties. As a world view, water rates should not increase significantly beyond the published indicators,” he said.

Dayan added that the corporations distribute about one hundred million shekels a year in dividends and sources another 190 million shekels, and even before talking about other things, this is about 6% of the tariff. According to him, “the easiest way is to say that a rate should be raised, we treat it with reverence and are examining the entire rate structure. I am sure that we will also approve the increase in January and in the long term a rate structure should be established that will not allow such great profitability for the water corporations, the sources and the desalination facilities.”

Photo: Knesset Spokesperson

As for the price of water for agriculture, he said that it should not come at the expense of water consumers. Chairman Elkin asked what would happen if the ministry failed to convince the budget division whether it would still support the bill, and Dayan replied that the budget division should be asked whether they would be able to finance the proposal if they failed to convince the energy ministry. “It makes no sense that Mrs. Cohen You will also pay the price of water for agriculture,” Dayan said.

MK Oded Forer said that the water diverted to agriculture allows for less purification and that the budget department has an interest in putting its hand in its pocket and investing in infrastructure. MK Alon Shuster, the initiator of the bill regarding the determination of the water tariff for agriculture, said that the cost of the legislation is 170-180 A million shekels, and you can find balances.

The president of the Farmers' and Farmers' Association, Dobi Amitai, said that the Galilee was literally burned, and yet he gave an order to continue watering the crops to help prevent fires. He added that the country sells water to Jordan at half the price paid by the farmers, who compete with the Jordanian farmers.

The legal advisor of the Jerusalem Gihon Water Corporation, Adv. Aviv Brandt, referred to the water supply to the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and said that the problem is in the neighborhoods beyond the separation fence, and the solution is to upgrade the infrastructure that Mekorot is working on. Head of the Water and Sewer Department at the Water Authority, Itai Kobarsky , pointed out that Israel supplies the water to the Ramallah waterworks, which should also supply water to these neighborhoods in Jerusalem, but there is no obligation in the agreement with the Palestinian Authority to supply water to Kfar Aqab.

Chairman Elkin concluded the meeting and with regard to the water tariff he said that it is necessary to ensure that investment in the infrastructure is not harmed, he even noted that he came out calm from the explanations. On the other hand, regarding the bill regarding the tariff for agriculture he said that the issue is not resolved and it should not be blamed on the domestic consumer According to him, “If there is no budgetary source or the legislation is not promoted or the voice of the domestic consumer is restored. The state must help the farmers and we need to put our hands in our pockets.” As for the water supply in East Jerusalem, he asked for a round table with those concerned, and formulate proposals for a solution. “It cannot be that the state succeeds in supplying more water to Gaza than it supplies to the neighborhood in Israel,” concluded Chairman Elkin .

Edit: Live flash news

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