JERUSALEM (Jun. 10)
The Cabinet acted Monday to curtail the water supply for agricultural and urban use to replenish reserves which have dwindled because of an unusually light rainfall during the past winter and rising consumption.
A proposal by Agriculture Minister Arye Nehamkin to reduce the water supply by 100 million cubic meters, was adopted although several ministers argued for more drastic cuts. Farmers will have 60 million cubic meters less water and 40 million cubic meters will be removed from urban consumption.
A committee was appointed consisting of Premier Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Moshe Nissim and Nehamkin who will decide by the end of this summer whether further reductions are necessary.
Farmers, by far the largest consumers to water, have already begun shifting to crops that need less irrigation. Nehamkin said that cotton, a high irrigation crop, is being cut by 30 percent which will save about 100 million cubic meters of water.
A television advertising campaign has begun, urging city dwellers to use less water. They are advised to wash their cars with buckets rather than garden hoses.
One minister proposed regulations to enforce night watering of parks and private gardens. Another suggested that 25 percent of the urban water supply could be conserved if leaky pipes are mended. (By David Landau)