The Knesset today gave its final approval to long-awaited revised regulations on drinking water quality standards within the framework of the Health Regulations (1974).
Adam Teva V'Din began advocating for revisions in Israel's outdated drinking water standards in the early 2000s. Standards at that time had not been updated for nearly 20 years. When the Water Commissioner set up a task force of experts (the Adin Committee) to review and recommend new water quality standards, Adam Teva V'Din's water specialist was opted on as public interest representative.
By 2007, the Adin Committee's recommendations were ready but they were not presented to the Knesset for promulgation as regulations. Therefore in 2008, Adam Teva V'Din petitioned the High Court of Justice which compelled the government to move the parliamentary process forward.
During the Knesset review period over the last two years, Adam Teva V'Din has continued to advocate for stringent standards while demanding that the new regulations relate to the changing 'mix' of drinking water as a result of increasing reliance on desalinated water. The technological process removes naturally-occurring minerals vital to human health but no provision for monitoring or testing the implications of desalinated water had been introduced.
More testing, more often
The new standards include a more stringent and frequent water testing regime and a schedule for regular review and adjustment of regulations. They also provide improved transparency and reporting of water pollution incidents. Importantly, as Israel relies more and more on desalinated drinking water, the Health Ministry is now authorized to monitor health impacts and to order the replacement of minerals such as magnesium, should it be deemed necessary.
World class water
Amit Bracha, Adam Teva V'Din director, said that "As a result of our long-term advocacy, our petition to the High Court of Justice, and the close involvement of Adam Teva V'Din's water specialist in the government's task force on drinking water, the standards approved today put Israel's tap water in line with those of the EU and USA and meet or exceed the World Health Organization's recommendations for safe drinking water."