Policies for Water Demand Management in Israel
Facing chronic water scarcity, Israel has invested heavily in supply augmentation, including cloud seeding, reclamation and reuse of wastewater, and more recently large-scale seawater desalination. Given the physical and technological limitations as well as the economic costs of supply augmentation, Israel has also pursued a wide array of demand management policies. While both supply and demand management policies have always been pursued concomitantly, the relative emphasis placed on each has shifted over the course of the country’s development. In the early years of the country, emphasis was placed on development of existing supplies and large infrastructure projects such as the National Water Carrier. By the 1970s and 1980s, all renewable freshwater resources were exploited, and the focus was more on demand management. Failure to reduce demand, especially during extended droughts, such as those in the 1990s, led to overwithdrawals and a renewed focus on supply augmentation, which, given declines in the cost of desalination, again took precedence at the beginning of the twenty-first century. However, given the costs of desalination, as well as the various environmental and even security impacts associated with it, demand management is still a critical element in Israel’s overall water management strategy.
KeywordsWater Demand Demand Management Municipal Water Water Authority Public Awareness Campaign
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