A media campaign featuring beautiful women, coupled with a high tax on excess water consumption are apparently all it takes to get Israelis to start saving water. According to data collected by the Water Authority and the Mekorot National Water Company, a drop of 13.5% in municipal and private water consumption has been recorded in July 2009 compared to the same period last year (from 73 million cubic meters in July 2008 to 63 million this year). The campaign, titled "The Kinneret is Drying Up," was launched exactly one year ago, in July 2008. The Water Authority and Mekorot said that the decrease in water consumption began then and has continued in 2009. The decline in July was particularly noteworthy, because the rise in water consumption completely halted, whereas in previous years the summer months of June and July were characterized by an increase in consumption. The sharp slump in July, said the water authorities, should be attributed to the introduction of the "drought tax", which is supposed to significantly raise the price of water for households that use more water than the allotted amount. The statistics also revealed that a total of 70 million cubic meters have been saved since the beginning of the year, out of the 120 million the water authorities are hoping will be saved by the beginning of winter. The Water Authority's data is based on figures of Mekorot's water supply, which constitute about 70% of private and municipal consumption. "We are full of appreciation to the public for their contribution," said Water Authority Director-General Uri Shani. "Every year July and August are the peak months in terms of water consumption, and despite this we have seen in this month, and throughout the year, significant saving. "In recent years there has been an increase in consumption, and the data from the last yea indicate a drop in consumption," he added.