Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Rain

Back in October I was asking when winter is going to come to Israel, and over the past couple of weeks it has started to feel a little bit like winter (or for an Englisman more like early autum). I have even had to start wearing a jumper and coat occasionally.

We have also had quite a lot of decent rain so that instead of what I thought were just ditches along roads, have actually become streams. The media has been saying that this will help Israel's water levels, after having five very dry winters, but we are told we need lots more rain to get to a good level.

And yet no one is quite sure how much water we now have because the staff at the water company are on strike refusing to do their work. Their reason for striking is that they have been asked to work a little harder. This extra hard work is because a few months ago the Knesset decided to increase bills by 50% this year (approximately 24% now and the remainder later in the year), so the workers have said that is too much work to determine what the new charges will be for us customers. Therefore, I am still waiting to get my more expensive water bill.

There has been quite a lot of criticism of this increase in the price of water. However, in a country where we use more water than comes down in rain we do need to find a way to manage water levels better. I would have prefered the orginal proposal to create a varying price increase depending on how much water is used, though I can live with this increase. This is because while it will mean us paying a lot more for water now, we are told this will be used to build more water desalination plants.

Therefore instead of relying on unpredictable rainfall, Israel will be able to desalinate even more water and so over the next decade be able to have enough water to easily meet the demand. If this is planned properly, in a region which suffers from droughts, Israel may even be able to export some of its water and help in the future to bring our water bills down.

In the meantime lets hope we get plenty more rain (and I get to see my physical geography lessons come to life) and that I actually get my water bill so I can see for sure how much it has increased.

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