Israel’s Water Legislation

The Water Law that was legislated in 1959 to settle the management, preservation and allocation of the water resource for its use and to set its price.  The law was amended over the years and recently, in May of 2006, it underwent a substantial reform of its authorities, whereby the Government Water and Sewage Authority was established and and its executive council.  In addition to this legislation, there are the Water and Sewage Corporations Law (legislated in 2001), the Water Drilling Inspection Law and the Water Measurement Law as well as secondary legislation (rules and regulations), which are designed to regulate the water industry, while placing an emphasis on the use and management of the water.

The legislation is based on the following principles:

  1. Israel’s water sources are public property.  In other words, there is no private ownership of a water source.
  2. Any person is entitled to use water in accordance with the conditions set down by the law.
  3. Allocation of the use of water will be conducted using a national economic outlook, in order to ensure the optimal and sustainable utilization of the water sources.
  4. During a time of a shortage of available water, priorities must be set regarding the allocation of the water taking into account the quality and quantity of the water.
  5. Ensure that the use of water does not lead to contamination, depletion and waste.


In order to adhere to these principles, the law grants authority to three main organs:

  1. The Government Water and Sewage Authority Council (the legislative body):  its duties include regulating the use of water and sewage, developing and supervising the water and sewage industry, setting rules regarding water production, supply, quantity and quality and setting water and sewage tariffs and criteria for the service that water and sewage service providers must offer their consumers.
  2. The Government Water and Sewage Authority (the executive body):  its duties include preserving the water sources in terms of quality and quantity, to regulate production, supply and consumption of the water, to plan systems for water supply, to set and supervise water and sewage tariffs based on cost, to set and supervise criteria for service.
  3. The Director of the Government Authority (director of the executive body):  His duties include managing the the water and sewage industry based on government policy and subject to the provisions, instructions and rules determined by the government authority’s council.

There a many “players” in the water industry: Private institutions such as private water associations and desalination plants, government institutions such as Mekorot and public and quasi-public institutions, such as regional councils, water and sewage corporations and urban consortiums. This requires complex regulatory management and annual permits for the use of water (supply, consumption, penetration, production and manufacturing).  In addition, there are many types of water (treated wastewater, brackish water and freshwater) and a number of purposes for the use of water (industrial, agricultural, domestic and natural). Additional unique tariffs and mechanisms must be set based on the water types and/or various purposes.    

To the Rules and Regulations Page on the Water Authority website,  click here