Water Solution Found for Yehudah and Shomron, Says Minister

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister Yuval Steinitz says he’s hopeful gas development will get back on the original timetable. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Communities in Yehudah and Shomron that have been suffering from water shortages in recent months should see some relief soon. On Monday, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz officially opened the Ariel One water drilling project, which will tap into the Central Aquifer and transfer water to communities in Shomron that have seen water pressure drop precipitously in recent months.

Why this was so was not clear, although the Mekorot water company said that it was caused by increased demand and vandalism by Arabs, who on a regular basis damage the company’s equipment. Demand across Yehudah and Shomron today is over 10,000 cubic square meters of water a day. The new facility will add 4,500 square meters of water to the supply in the region.

The new project, developed by Mekorot, as well as a second one set to come online within months, will be expandable and are expected to help quench the thirst of the burgeoning population of the region.

The water problem has affected not only Jews, but Arabs as well. The problem: Water has just stopped flowing, for reasons that are unclear. Water pressure throughout the region is extremely low, even in towns that do have water flowing from taps. In some, like Kedumim, where the water system is not functioning properly, families have been forced to fill up water from tankers that were brought in by the IDF.

“The government of Israel must provide a solution to the water needs of residents of Yehudah and Shomron, as it does for residents of the center of the country and the periphery” said Steinitz. “I thank Mekorot for the intensive work it undertook on this project to increase the amount of water in Yehudah and Shomron, and to ensure that there will be enough water there to satisfy the needs of residents in the coming years.”