Questions whether ‘3 year campaign’ is sustainable.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan questions the wisdom of the Water Authority’s new PR campaign, in a letter sent earlier this week to National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and Water Authority head Prof. Uri Shani, his ministry revealed on Wednesday.

Erdan wrote that he recently became aware of the campaign and its message that conservation was only necessary for another three years.

Such a tack was not in line with “sustainable” living, which “is not a rude word for times of crisis only, but a way of life that takes into account natural resources and does not destroy them,” the minister wrote.

The campaign features the same actress as last year’s effort, once again with her face hideously drying out.

This time, as she stops drying out, she says that in three years the water crisis will be over.

Erdan expressed concern that the message was that conservation was necessary for the next three years only, and then, when all the desalination plants are up and running, the public can waste as much water as it wants.

Erdan stressed that water conservation should be emphasized all the time.

The Water Authority responded: “Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan is bursting through an open door.

“The Water Authority has invested and will continue to invest in education and PR campaigns about wise use of water all the time. Since the middle of 2008, a campaign has been running along the same lines that the minister presented, under the banner ‘Israel is drying out.’ “And in fact, the Israeli public reduced its water consumption by 20 percent.

“During the current PR campaign, the Water Authority is continuing the exact same message and is continuing to ask the public to conserve. At the same time, the Water Authority sees as its responsibility to report to the public what steps it is taking in parallel to the public’s efforts to conserve water: erecting essential desalination plants that will be completed within three years and will remove the danger of Lake Kinneret drying up; rehabilitating polluted wells; drilling new wells; increased pumping; and more,” the Authority said.

“The campaign does not permit the destruction [of the Kinneret], but rather reflects to the public the situation of the water economy and even specifically points out: In three years ‘the Kinneret will emerge from the danger of drying out,’ but until then, and after then, the public must continue to conserve,” the response read.

Landau reiterated his ministry’s and the Water Authority’s commitment to encouraging conservation, but also stressed their responsibility for full disclosure to the public regarding the end to the water crisis in three years. He said the goal was to have water not only for the public but also for agriculture, which was a Zionist and environmental ideal.