The Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved a new set of regulations pertaining to the quality of drinking water
The new regulations, which have already been deemed the "strictest ever implemented" in the field, place Israel
on par with the United States and EU nations.
The new standards intend to update the previous Public Health Regulations on the quality of drinking water, which were established in 1974.
Several key changes include mandating water suppliers to test taps in individual homes and institutions at the request of the consumer; publishing information regarding water quality
on the supplier’s website and the immediate report of any deviation from water quality levels.
One of the most controversial issues to be addressed during the meeting was the addition of fluoride to drinking water.
The Health Ministry insisted that fluoride must be added to water in order to fight tooth decay,
but environmentalists and water experts argued that fluoride may cause a series of potentially serious ailments.
The committee eventually granted a one-year permit for the addition of fluoride to drinking water, at the end of which the issue will be reviewed again.
The Health Ministry also sought to add magnesium to desalinated water – a proposal that met the Water Authority's objections.
The committee agreed to set up an experimental facility at one of Israel's desalination plants and to review the matter again in three years.
Committee Chairman MK Amnon Cohen (Shas)
said that the agreement was "historic": "The approval of water regulations will ensure that the water quality will be at the highest level of international standards for residents of Israel."