Water Tax Begins July 1

It took long enough, but Israel is taking steps to combat the severe water shortage by imposing a tax on excess usage.

According to Ynet, the tax goes into effect on July 1. Update: The law hasn’t been passed, and there is a question about whether the tax will be retroactive.

A family of four that uses more than 30 cubic meters (30 times 1000 liters–I love the metric system) over a two-month billing period will be subject to a tax of NIS 20 per cubic meter. Thirty percent of household water usage falls into this category, so the tax could be quite a windfall for the government.

A household containing more than four people is entitled to six extra cubic meters per additional person. So a family of six that kept its usage to below 42 cubic meters would be exempt from this tax.

To be eligible for more water at the lower rate, send a letter and a copy of both your laminated teudat zehut (identity card) and the sephach, the paper that lists each of your children, to your local water authority.

Variable rates for water have long been in force, and will continue. The first 18 cubic meters cost NIS 4 each. The next 12 cubic meters cost NIS 5.5 each. Use over 30, and the rate on the additional cubic meters jumps to NIS 8 each. With the tax, the highest rate will jump to NIS 28.

Some haredi politicians objected saying that the tax will adversely effect large families, whose water bills might increase by hundreds of shekalim. But there’s no reason for large families to get a break beyond the 6 cubic meters a person. The larger your household, the more efficiently you should be using water. It doesn’t take that much more to wash a large pot than a small one.

According to our most recent bill for March and April, which included Pesach, we used 26http://www.amotherinisrael.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=1659 cubic meters. We are seven people, or eight when my son is home from yeshiva. That’s pretty good for a household with three to four teens. But taxes aside, I know I could cut my usage even more. Even without skipping the laundry and the cleaning.

Let’s hope the tax will be effective and lead to an easing of the crisis.

Related:

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Comments

  1. The larger your household, the more efficiently you should be using water.
    I totally agree with you. Responsibility is for everyone and short water supplies are a concern for the whole nation.

    • mominisrael says:

      I-D, in case it wasn’t clear, I wasn’t suggesting that large families have more responsibility than small. I meant that per person they should be able to get by with the same allocation or somewhat less.

  2. Simon Synett says:

    Thanks for this useful summary.

    While personal responsibility is important, I do hope that the local councils that waste extraordinary volumes of water through negligence will be subject to fines. This might encourage them to fix the broken sprinklers and pipes that likely account for far more water than household usage.

    • mominisrael says:

      SS: You won’t get an argument from me about the municipalities. And thanks for visiting. Tikva, you’re welcome!

  3. Good information. Thank you!

  4. I wasn’t suggesting that large families have more responsibility than small.
    Neither was I. I just think that if you have large families you have to admit the responsibilities that go with your choice.
    I meant that per person they should be able to get by with the same allocation or somewhat less. That’s what I meant too.

  5. Simon Synett says:

    It really gives little encouragement to private citizens to be responsible when they see this kind of wastage. What with the already rampant mentality of not wanting to be a freier, many will use this as a good excuse not to be careful with their own usage.

    Sorry for ranting! I’d just like to see the authorities take some responsibility for their own actions for once.

    Best,

    Simon

  6. mominisrael says:

    Simon, I agree, but I also feel strongly about private citizens who use water unchecked. And there are enough people who can afford a couple hundred shekel a month to do what they like.

  7. Simon Synett says:

    Yeah, davka for those who can afford it, we need the public citizens to show responsibility and set an example!

  8. Klara Le Vine says:

    Besides just taxing people, I wish there were even more eduction and incentives for people. And agree whole heartedly about the public areas being more water conservative.

    But what about those who are trying to grow food? Not the farmers but individuals?

  9. thanks for the heads up!!

  10. Meir Green says:

    The problem is that the meshutaf is one month 0 cube and suddenly it is 9 cube, and the next month 1 cube. This pushes our bill some months over 30 cube.

    I don’t think the guy washing the steps uses more than a 10 liter bucket of water.

    • mominisrael says:

      Hi Meir,
      What about the garden? I wonder if they are not reading the meter for every bill (two months, not one, right?) Can you ask the water authority if they know why?

  11. Meir Green says:

    No garden, no pool. They said “there must be an underground leak”. Every now and then they do change the meters.

  12. Meir Green says:

    Thanks, we didn’t know about this. Has there been a public information campaign to save water, delivered with the water bill or via ads on the radio?

    When I asked at the tamburs and at the bathroom-fixture stores, none of them knew if they had water-saving shower heads, or how much water the fixtures should consume! People are still told to buy the cheapest or the prettiest.

    In contrast, the US government has a teken for water-saving or energy-saving devices, which are mandated by *law* now in the USA.

    Is the govt looking to save water, or to make money?

  13. “Let’s hope the tax will be effective and lead to an easing of the crisis.”

    i hope this works. israelis suffer from enough taxes as it is.

  14. To begin with 30 cubic metres is not 15 times 1000 litres . One cube is a 1000 litres , so its 30000 litres of water > To give you an idea , it is approximately a 3 x 3 room filled up to a height of 3.3 metres . That is the amount of water you are allowed to get at a highly subsidized rate . So I don’t think there is a lot to complain . If you are using more you should pay without the subsidy . Besides if you draw x amount of water you also have to pay the same for sewage disposal . It definitely will be very useful if the got. get involved in educating people about resources So it pays to clean up you act .
    We , a family of four , usually use about 16-17 cu.m for two months and are trying to reduce it further . We installed a greywater system when we redid our house and that takes care of all our gardening needs , including veggies . Of course we don’t get a discount for not disposing greywater into the sewage system .

    • mominisrael says:

      LoZ:This is a true luxury tax. Unless you have a special need for more water.
      arv: Thank you, it’ll be corrected in a moment. The article kept switching between rates for one and two months, and I tried to make it consistent (but failed). I agree that the amount of water at the lowest rate should be more than enough.
      If you mean that you shouldn’t pay for the sewage rate because water used for the garden doesn’t go into the sewage, it doesn’t matter whether it’s gray or clear.

  15. Tony Trenton says:

    Factories and Municipalities are the biggest wastrels and of course NOBODY IS RESPONSIBLE

    MUNICIPALITIES PAY FINES WITH OUR MONEY

    If it came out of the pockets of the people who make the choices then there would be no wastage

    To know who is responsible. Just ask who’s choice it is.

    The democratic freedom to choose, implies responsibility for those choices.

    • mominisrael says:

      Tony,
      Thanks for your comment. The water policy in this country is long overdue for a major rehauling.

  16. I was looking for this info, thanks for posting it.

    BUT

    My bill is closer to 70 koob for a family of seven for 2 months! (33 at 4NIS, 14 at 5.5, and 24 at 7.9! Will the 20 NIS a koob fine go on the last group only or also on the 5.5 NIS group?:-( And are we being charged properly, or is the water authority pulling our plug?) and you said you use 26 for the two months of Pesach…

    I saw your post about getting rid of our Maytag, and peeked at your purim mask, but can someone show me a way to cut my usage by two thirds????

    • mominisrael says:

      Only on the last 24 cubic meters. I have another friend who is very careful and still goes over the limit. She also has a Maytag. It also depends on the ag of your kids. My youngest is 5, I surely used more when the children were smaller as there is much more laundry and toilet flushing. I’m going to post your comment as a separate post. The rate sounds accurate to me. Are you in a communal building? Is part of that amount communal usage?

  17. mominisrael says:

    Wait, I got that wrong, Gidon. I don’t have access to my bill right now, but it seems that you should be getting 36 cubic meters at the lowest rate. (18 for 4 people, plus 6 cubic meters for each of the additional three children. 18+18=36.) I’m working on the newest post now.

  18. mominisrael says:
  19. Did you think there is a real water problem in Israel? Check out the following link (Hebrew) to get some more facts about how the government doesn’t want to solve the problem so it can get more tax income…

    http://waterpoblem.homestead.com/WaterinIsrael.html

  20. I think this new “tax law” is not going to work…..I believe that as usual – the average family with 3 children are going to be the ones who are taxed……the large families won’t be taxed, and the families with 1 child and a dog might be taxed because they don’t give a dam about saving the country’s water supply – and on top of that, they are the one’s with the money to pay the tax, and not to care……again, it’ll be the lower middle class, and the middle class who suffer.

    My husband is a lawyer, and I’ve already told him that he should study this new law for what it’s worth, because there are going to be plenty of unhappy and unfairly taxed people who are going to be effected and we (the citizens) are going to need lawyers to defend outselves……what a bologon.

    • mominisrael says:

      Susan, I don’t follow your logic about large and small families. But when it comes to taxes, the poor will clearly suffer more.

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