Infrastructures minister will tell cabinet annual rainfall was below average.

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau will tell the cabinet on Sunday, during a briefing about the status of the water economy, that overall rainfall was still below average this year. Alongside Water Authority head Prof. Uri Shani and Mekorot director-general Ido Rosolio, Landau will touch on all the major aspects of handling water in Israel.

As a result of the underwhelming amount of precipitation, the main water reservoirs are still dangerously low. They are not expected to rise above the red lines in 2010, the trio of water officials will tell the cabinet.

However, apparently since this year was better than the past five, fresh water for agriculture will be cut by 25 million cubic meters in 2010, as opposed to 100 million cu.m. in 2009; while water for gardening will also increase. Instead of a cut of 20 million cu.m., it will be cut 10 million cu.m.

Landau will also tell the cabinet that the country’s water situation can be stabilized and the crisis ended in five to seven years, with the advent of desalination.

Landau’s briefing comes just half a week after the Bein Commission released its final report on the water economy after a year and a half of study. The commission said much was still to be done to get the water economy on the right path.

The policy part of the Water Authority’s master plan will be completed and presented for approval this year, Shani is expected to tell the cabinet, according to a communiqué put out by the National Infrastructures Ministry on Saturday night and embargoed until Sunday morning. The master plan will include specific sections on major topics such as sewage treatment, water distribution, water for nature sites, and more. The other part of the master plan – the action plans – will be drawn up in parallel.

Five more water corporations will be incorporated this year, bringing the total corporations to 52, covering about 6 million residents in 110 local authorities. The 77 more local authorities required by law to form a corporation will have to join existing corporations.

Part of the problem thus far has been that corporations were created with too few residents to be profitable. To shore up some of the weaker corporations, the government will provide an injection of NIS 400 million.