Water Conservation and Supply Augmentation in Israel – Is Coexistence Possible?

Authors: David Katz*, University of Haifa
Topics: Environmental Perception, Water Resources and Hydrology, Environment
Keywords: water conservation, demand management, public awareness, desalination
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Buchanan, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Water managers use a mixture of both supply-side and demand-side policies. However, supply augmentation undertaken to avoid overdrafts can reduce the effectiveness of demand management policies if the two strategies are not carefully integrated. Such a result can stem from a type of moral hazard phenomenon by which consumers, aware of the increases in supply, discount the importance of conservation. Thus, the supply management effectively undermines demand management. This is illustrated by the case of Israel. After years of over-extraction, the water authority implemented successful national demand management measures to reduce consumption, including an extremely popular public awareness campaign regarding the need for water conservation.. However, with the recent advent of large-scale desalination in Israel, public perception regarding the importance of conservation diminished and a survey of the public indicated that most of the population no longer believed there was a problem of water scarcity. As a result, per capita consumption has increased—this, despite increasing prices, drought conditions and critically low levels of water reserves.

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