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19

Israel faces water crisis

Israel is being warned that the country's water supplies are dangerously low...

Israel is being warned that the country's water supplies are dangerously low, and it will have to accept drastic cuts in consumption.

Israeli Water Commissioner Shimon Tal is expected to call for a total ban on watering lawns for the next three years and for a 10% cut in the supply to industry.

But the issue is politically charged and linked to the wider dispute over Palestinian statehood.

In the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians run local government but Israel still controls most of the water resources.

Accusations

The Palestinians accuse Israel of diverting water away from their towns to keep Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories fully supplied.

They say they have to watch Jewish settlers hosing down lawns and filling swimming pools while in some Palestinian areas, people have to manage on less than half the daily minimum for health and sanitation laid down by the World Health Authority.

Israel traditionally denies it is responsible for such dire shortages, saying Palestinian farmers are to blame for using illegal connections to irrigate their fields.

But there is no doubt that subterranean water reserves are steadily shrinking as the demands of two fast-growing societies outpace natural replenishment by rivers and rainfall.

Desalination

And as fresh water supplies diminish, polluted water from pools deeper underground is drawn upwards, making the reserves undrinkable.

The only real solution, experts agree, is to create more fresh water.
They say they have to watch Jewish settlers hosing down lawns and filling swimming pools while in some Palestinian areas, people have to manage on less than half the daily minimum for health and sanitation laid down by the World Health Authority.

Israel traditionally denies it is responsible for such dire shortages, saying Palestinian farmers are to blame for using illegal connections to irrigate their fields.

But there is no doubt that subterranean water reserves are steadily shrinking as the demands of two fast-growing societies outpace natural replenishment by rivers and rainfall.

Desalination

And as fresh water supplies diminish, polluted water from pools deeper underground is drawn upwards, making the reserves undrinkable.

The only real solution, experts agree, is to create more fresh water.

news.bbc.co.uk