Minister Dr. Uzi Landau
Minister Dr. Uzi LandauYoni Kempinski

National Infrastructure Minister Dr. Uzi Landau (Israel Our Home) called Monday for the Netanyahu government to abolish Israel's Value Added Tax (VAT) on water.

Landau's comments were made at the signing ceremony launching a project to build a new desalinization plan near Ashdod.

"The establishment of desalination plants are an important project, but they are very expensive. Water was to be a closed economy where water  revenues are reinvested in future projects. But most of the burden for construction has been taken up by the public through rate hikes," Landau said.

"There has been a drastic increase in water and sewage rates, the least the government can do is give up the VAT element of water and sewage rates. It's an unnecessary tax burden, a tax on a basic need for survival, is not reinvested in the water sector, and there is no reason to claim it serves the public good," he added.

Landau also said, "Israel Our Home and I have been saying this for months. Bills to this end put forward by MK Faina Kirschenbaum and Alex Miller since January 2010 have been repeatedly postponed. I have raised the issue during meetings with the Prime Minister in meetings with the water sector in the past as well . I call on them - again - to put these measures into practice. Its not possible to relieve the public burden in every case, but where possible, like this case, the state must help."

The facility Landau approved today will provide 100 million cubic meters per year starting in 2013 and will provide about 15% of the water consumed on a domestic level in Israel.