Although posters proclaimed that ‘within days’ somebody would show up at our homes and install the devices for free, nobody saw anybody wearing a Water Authority shirt who might be suspected of installing water savers.
By Amiram Cohen

About six months ago somebody plastered pretty posters all over our neighborhood, and in our building stairwell, making a heady promise: to give me a water saver. “A water saver on every tap!” the poster cooed. “National drive to distribute water savers. Up to 40% savings in monthly water consumption.”

“Within days” somebody would show up at our homes and install the devices for free, the posters promised. The installers would be certified by the Water Authority and come decked out in shirts bearing the Water Authority logo. They would install up to three water savers in each apartment, without impairing convenience.

If only the Water Authority had come in time.

As an added bonus to consumers, the posters were decorated with the smiling face of choreographer Renana Raz, made over courtesy of the Water Authority.

My cup runneth over. A national drive to economize on water in our arid little country, almost halving my water bill – which only our gasoline bill manages to best in the race skyward. And Ms. Raz all decked out in fresh cosmetics to boot. It’s good to live in this country!

But as time passed, we began to suspect in our building that maybe the poster had been mistaken. “Within days” went by, and lots more days too. Nobody in the neighborhood saw anybody wearing a Water Authority shirt who might be suspected of installing water savers.

Maybe “within days” had been an error and they meant to write “within years,” or decades maybe, or “by the end of the century.” Meanwhile, the water continues to flow from our faucets merrily unchecked by water savers and the cost month to month just keeps rising. So we’re unhappily unable to test the Water Authority’s promise that our enjoyment of our water, newly regulated, would be unimpaired.

Water savers are the easiest way to save water and money. But instead of water savers, we received promises and announcements. An announcement, for instance, that the tender to choose companies to install the gadgets would be published shortly, that it had been published, that the bids were being studied, that winners were chosen and that installation would commence shortly.

Any day now

In December 2009, the Water Authority’s engineering chief told the Knesset Economics Committee that distribution would start “within months” and that by June 2010, the water savers would be installed. In May 2010, the Water Authority’s chairman, Uri Shani, told the Knesset that three companies had won the tender for distribution and installation, even though the process had been difficult. The project would start any day and water savers would be placed in households throughout the land during the summer.

No water savers were installed in June, but the Water Board maintained its usual chirpy optimism and told the public that installation would begin in July, ending by November.

Three months have passed since installation was supposed to be finished and – at least in our neighborhood in Tel Aviv’s old north – not one water saver has appeared, or even anybody wearing that Water Authority shirt.

It would be excessive to say that the Water Authority is doing absolutely nothing to help the water economy. It put out a new poster, on a background of red and black (representing Lake Kinneret’s red line and black line? ) warning that it has been a dry winter. True! It has. Recently the news reported that two lovelies would be replacing Ms. Raz on Water Authority billboards. Moreover, the Water Authority, reports the press, is thinking of urging the government to raise the price of water to big consumers.

The Water Authority commented that its contract with the distribution companies ended after 2 million water savers had been distributed, and it’s checking whether more needs to be done. If needed, it will be done, the authority said. It added that every citizen is advised to buy a set of water savers that meet the standard at a local store and install them alone – nothing simpler, the authority says.

I went to a store and bought the recommended set of water savers at a bargain price of NIS 89.99.

I couldn’t install even one of the three. I guess I’m not cut out to be a plumber.