Strict Water-saving Measures Prompted by Continuing Drought

Strict water conservation measures were announced Wednesday by Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan, in the face of Israel’s continuing drought.

The restrictions include a ban on watering public parks and private gardens and lawns during the daylight hours.

The rules will remain in force through October 1992.

Eitan has been urging drastic conservation measures since last winter, when the seasonal rains were late for the fourth consecutive year and the level of Lake Kinneret, the country’s largest natural reservoir, fell dangerously low.

He nevertheless encountered strong opposition. The new rules are a compromise with critics, who warned that verdant areas in towns and villages could become arid wastelands.

But Eitan told the public they would have to make the choice between sitting on lawns or eating tomatoes.

Homeowner are banned from planting new lawns or seasonal plants. They may plant new gardens of up to one-eighth of an acre, provided they get permission from the water commissioner.

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