‘Israel is drying out again’: Water Authority relaunches conservation campaign

Entering sixth year of drought, Israelis urged to limit water use as climate change, growing population strains resources

In this September 16, 2017, photo, a swimmer participates in the annual Sea of Galilee swim. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
In this September 16, 2017, photo, a swimmer participates in the annual Sea of Galilee swim. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

The Israel Water Authority relaunched a campaign Tuesday urging citizens to cut back on their water use, under the slogan, “Israel is drying out again.”

The goal of the campaign is to encourage Israelis to limit their use of water as a way of life.

The new push is an updated version of a long-running, powerful TV advertising campaign from the 1990s and 2000s in which celebrities highlighted the “years of drought” and the “falling level of the Sea of Galilee.” As they spoke plaintively to camera, their features started to crack and peel — like the country — for lack of moisture.

Major desalination efforts along with other technologies allowed the Water Authority to end to the campaign in 2013.

Ninet Tayeb in the no-longer-broadcast 'Israel is drying out' commercial (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
Ninet Tayeb in the no-longer-broadcast ‘Israel is drying out’ commercial. (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

However, in 2018 Israel was entering its sixth consecutive year of drought, and climate change, growing populations, and the increasing use of its water were creating concern.

According to Hadashot News, the situation in northern Israel is the most dire in 100 years. The Water Authority was warning that barring changes in water use, next year there may be periods when “they’ll turn off our water,” Hadashot reported.

“We’re now in a permanent situation of climate change,” Doron Markel, the director of the Sea of Galilee division at the Water Authority said in October. “This is not a period of, ‘a dry season, and afterwards we’ll have a rainy season.’ It’s not like the times of Pharaoh, where seven years of plenty come before seven years of drought.”

At the launch of the campaign, Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz said the focus was on preserving Israel’s environment and nature.

“We save water not only to have something to drink and to shower, but to save Israeli agriculture and to preserve the natural resources of the Land of Israel, the streams and the Sea of ​​Galilee,” he said.

The advertising campaign is part of a broader effort to conserve water, which will include reducing water quotas for agriculture, limiting municipal gardening, construction of an additional desalination plant, the repair and upgrading of municipal water and sewage systems, and adding water to the Sea of ​​Galilee, the Calcalist news site reported.

Melanie Lidman and Associated Press contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: