ACRI: Stop Water Corporations From Disconnecting Residents


ACRI today (September 2, 2013) submitted its position to the Water Authority on its new policy that regulates the disconnections of families in debt to water corporations. The rules were supposed to be set in 2002, but after a decade of delays, and thousands of unnecessary disconnections, the Water Authority is planning to advance the changed policy.


In 2001, the Water and Sewerage Corporations Law obliged the Water Authority to set a new policy on the disconnection and reduction of water supplies “within 6 months”. Twelve years have passed and the new policy has still not been set. In reality, each water corporation sets its own rules, any many of them cut off consumers who do not have the means to pay their large water bills irrespective of their economic circumstances.


Following four drafts published by the Water Authority, each in turn drawing criticism from ACRI, the fifth draft, published last month, points to a significant change in their position and incorporates a lot of ACRI’s key suggestions.


That water corporations maintain the ability to disconnect consumers, together with the steep rise in water prices, has led to an increase in reports of people being cut off from the water supply. Data collected by ACRI shows that more than 1,000 homes have their water cut off due to overdue accounts each month. The transition to private  water corporations rather than a municipal provider meant that the “safety net” that was present due to coordination between social services and the municipal water services no longer existed. Now, people with no means who turn up to the water corporation to seek payment relief are in many cases stuck in a hopeless situation.


Attorney Tali Nir, Director of ACRI’s Social and Economic Rights Department:Access to tap water is a fundamental right that can’t be treated the same as any other consumer product. We have to end these cruel water disconnections and have the debt collected through other means. It is clear that this process can not be left to the water corporations who are committed only to their profit margin when making the decision on disconnecting people who enter into debt. For a country that is implementing a nationwide vaccination campaign against polio, it seems to have forgotten that hand-washing is a fundamental measure to prevent diseases, including polio.”


Related Materials

To read about ACRI’s petition to the High Court of Justice against the continued water disconnections, click here.

To read the Water Authority’s latest draft policy on regulating water disconnections (in Hebrew), click here.


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Categories: Social and Economic Rights, Welfare

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