By Amiram Cohen

The cost of water to households increased yesterday by 5%. The new price is NIS 8.50 per cubic meter per person for the first 2.5 cubic meters a month. From that point, water will cost NIS 12.50 per cubic meter.

The price includes municipal charges for sewage services.

Water for industry has not increased in price at this stage: It remains NIS 3.83 per cubic meter, the Water Authority said. Insofar as could be ascertained, the Water Authority does intend to raise the price for industry, but gradually, over three years.

However, the price of water for agriculture also increased, rising by 11.8 agorot per cubic meter. Farmers pay a graded scale according to their water use: The more they use, the higher the price rises per cubic meter. The average price after the increase is NIS 1.71 per cubic meter, an increase of 7.8%. By the year 2016, the price of water for farming is expected to increase 42% from its present level to NIS 2.26 per cubic meter.

The Water Authority also set consumption quotes for rural towns at 12.5 cubic meters per person a month (150 cubic meters a year ), compared with 2.5 cubic meters per person in the cities. Up to that point, rural users – such as kibbutzim and moshavim – will pay NIS 8.50 per cubic meter.

Rural users are allocated a far bigger quota of water at the lowest price because unlike city dwellers, their water use is also for business and public purposes.