Many Israelis are distressed to realize that they will be paying a lot of tax on excess water, maybe several hundred shekel a month. In my last post on the water crisis in Israel, I asked readers for suggestions. I’m going to compile the replies here, and add a few comments of my own.
The standard allocation for each family should be more than enough for a family’s normal washing, cooking, and laundry needs. Every drop counts, and saving water saves you money on the water, the sewage, and wear and tear on your water heater even if it’s solar. I doubt that a few long showers by teens would be enough to make a difference, but ever drop counts. If you are way over the limit I think that one of these is the most likely cause:
Major Sources of Excess Water Usage
- Maytag or similar top-loading American washing machine with a central agitator. Gidon scanned the instructions showing the water usage for each Maytag cycle. According to Ynet, an efficient front-loader uses about 50 liters a cycle while the “extra-large” Maytag cycle uses 151. People claim that they fit more clothes. I don’t agree that the difference is so great, because you can stuff things more closely into a smaller front-loader where top-loaders need to load the clothes loosely. But even a “large” Maytag cycle uses 132 liters, and more for a permanent press cycle.
- Leaks. Here’s how Gidon found his:
I took a look at my bill, and noticed that this billing period was about 71, but last one was 56 and the previous 53, and all previous between 43 and 53.
I called the water collection company (my local municipal gviah). The clerk suggested that I check for leaks by turning off all of the faucets, then see if the water meter is spinning. If it is spinning, there is probably a leak.
The clerk went on to say that if I have a leak, the plumber should give a receipt, which I could send to the water bill appeals committee (I kid you not) and I might get a refund!
Well, all that is exactly what happened! I faxed a letter with the gist of what I wrote here along with the receipt, and today they called and said I would be getting an NIS 120 refund! (I think this is how much the 10 cubic meters a month would cost at the lowest price.)
Whatever – the heightened awareness of noticing any movement on the tiny gear of my water meter (a full revolution is one liter, I think) and realizing that you can get money back that easily, and all these water saving tips, were all worth it.
Bottom line – always submit plumber bills to the Gviah – what have you got to lose?
I heard of several people who discovered leaks after being notified by the water company that their usage had shot up suddenly.
- Workers, teens, etc. We can’t always control what happens in our home. But I have been frustrated by cleaners who poured bucket after bucket of used water into the toilet. It’s possible to wash a large area of floor with one bucket. Also, rinsing out rags in the sink can be very wasteful. Unless you are careful to save the washing water it’s probably better to have a larger supply and wash them in the machine at regular intervals. Also, most cleaners use too much detergent or cleanser. When cleanser is not diluted enough it doesn’t work as well, and requires more water for rinsing. It’s also possible that children or other family members are using excess water without your knowledge.
- Reverse osmosis water filter. This is they type that is stored under the sink. They waste more water than they filter, up to 70%. If you can’t live without it, at least avoid using that water for cooking or washing and better yet, find a way to save the excess. Israeli tap water is just as safe as bottled water and contains valuable minerals. It’s also much better for the environment than using those bottles, even if yo rec
- Toilets. Installing two-level toilets will save a great deal of water; we just put one in ourselves. Most of the time the smaller flush is enough even for #2. If not, just flush again. The more people in the family (especially small children), the more you will save.
- Gardens. My friends are serious gardeners, but in light of the crisis they stopped watering everything but the trees. They don’t feel comfortable using gray water, even though the water from the washing machine, bath, and vegetable cleaning should be fine. Mrs. S. collects the water from her air conditioner in a bucket and waters a different section of her yard all day. That water is clean so it presumably could be used for laundry as well, and then to the garden. Jameel is rigging up his Maytag to use the waste for the garden. I know some who have done the same for their bath water.
- Other suggestions mentioned in the comments:
- Installing a timer for the shower faucet, that turns it off or makes the water run cold after a prescribed time.
- Setting aside the water while waiting for the hot water to run.
- Saving bath water.
- Using a dishwasher (full, of course).
- Installing chaschamim, devices that make the water spray instead of just run down.
- Soaking dishes, sponging them, then rinsing them quickly under a chascham.
- Not flushing the toilet every single time.
People object to the tax claiming that the government is a big water waster, the tax money should go to solve the crisis and not to the government, and that the agricultural and industrial sectors are to blame for the crisis. While these objections have a basis at the end of the day our country’s water is a precious resource and we have a responsibility to use as little as we can.