Come along to see the future in the wet infrastructure field
Ing Anna Reznik
Chapter A of the Water and Sewage Law in Local Authorities, 2001, describes the goals of the law, which contain:
a. Ensuring a level of service, quality and reliability, at reasonable prices and without discrimination.
b. Business, professional and efficient management of water and sewage systems in local authorities.
c. Encouraging water and other resource savings. Preservation of water sources, public health, the environment and the values of nature and landscape and the prevention of pollution of the sea and streams – as far as the water and sewage economy is concerned.
In light of this, the question arises: do local authorities have the tools to prepare, within a reasonable period, for the implementation of the objectives of the law?
In the article “On a Glass of Water” published in “Liquid Water Engineering and Irrigation”, Issue 14, I addressed the techno-economic aspects of establishing a “computerized information center”, which relate, among other things, to what is written in the law. That is, the establishment of an accurate and up-to-date database that enables the retention and recovery of relevant information, decision-making at a professional level, clear and available information can be obtained, professional and reliable cooperation and professional and efficient management of water and sewage systems in authorities.
This, in order to enable quality service to customers. Is, then, the trend in the authorities is to go in the direction of efficiency and reliability?
In this article, in light of the importance of the detailed topic, I allow myself to draw the attention of water and sewage engineers and employees of government and municipal institutions thanks to which we are able to provide professional service. They think that it is possible to manage a water and sewage economy in the country in another way as well, for the plan to establish a water layer as part of the GIS project.
This is especially true to water authority administration in local authorities, which deals with the construction of the water layer as an urban GIS system (the water administrator refers to the above project as any other project within the framework of a work plan for implementation).
In the absence of a background map, the Water Administration participates in the program with a budget of 25% of the background map costs. As part of the program budget, the Water Administration includes 100% of the cost of establishing the water layer.
It should be noted that following budgetary support and this welcome activity of the Water Administration, headed by the Chief Engineer more and more authorities are entering the project to build the water layer as part of the GIS project, such as Nesher Municipality, Arad Municipality Bnei Aish Local Council.
An important and active role in the issue was taken over by the local government center, in the field of application of advanced technologies that leads to improved operation and maintenance of water systems, sewers and canals small and large, through the establishment of a computerized information center (Q.I.S) for infrastructure.
David Amar, Mayor of Nesher, leads the project.
Geographic information systems, which became a part of the information/management systems in many bodies, including local authorities, play a role as an important management-assisting tool to the engineer of the city and lead to optimizing the engineering administration.
Authorities such as Petah Tikva, Ashdod and Nesher established computed databases based on updated information that allows receiving of statistical reports on all levels, and a summary of individual sections – up to entire networks.
Delivering reliable information to the various planning offices enables efficient and fast planning and reduces execution costs (unexpected).
Reliable and efficient management in the authorities
It is also possible otherwise in the focused professional field.
In the field of infrastructure management, more and more engineers are being seen in the authorities who are able to operate efficiently. Evidence of this is that more and more authorities are entering the “computerized information center” project, including the Netanya Municipality, the Rishon LeZion Municipality, the CEO of Matam, the Director of Subscriptions and more.
Although the situation of water in Israel is far from satisfying us, and even though there are limitations of financial means, the country has organizations and professionals who take part for this blessed activity, that allows the authorities to step one step further and take care of problems arising in a state of emergency.
To summarize, there are more than a few authorities, which already today answer the law’s purposes – in the next year, I’m full of hope that each authority could “do it differently”.
“Reznik Infrastructure Systems Ltd.” Deals for over 13 years in the department of establishing graphic and alphanumeric databases of wet infrastructures, such as water, sewage and channeling, and dry infrastructures such as electricity, communication and lighting, which require skill and high professionalism.
In addition, our company provides advice and services in preparing a program for the establishment of a computerized information center – the stage of preparing the material is a complex stage and the success of the project depends on it!
Our company offers its clients many years of experience in consulting, planning and computing infrastructures in the most advanced means – the recommendations of our clients attest to this:
The revolutionary approach of the law is evident in other matters as well: for example, there will be no more uniformity in the price of water provided to the consumer, since the rate will be determined according to the “principle of recognized cost”, i.e.: “water and sewage rates will be determined according to the cost of providing services”.
In this context, the question arises as to whether it is appropriate that in Sefer areas, which are naturally less economically strong, such as development towns in the Negev, or minority villages in the Galilee, residents be charged higher than established places in the center, such as Shmaryahu or Savyon. This is on the reasonable assumption that the cost of providing services in these places will be higher due to their geographical location and topographical condition. The legislature referred it to the old solution and hinted in advance that the state budget may provide support to reduce the price of the service. If so - then what good were the sages in their regulation?
Also on the subject of taxation, still, there are many aspects that the new law does not discuss and does not resolve.
Thus, for example, the issue of the conditions of transfer of assets from the Authority to a corporation, which has the greatest significance in terms of taxation, has not yet been determined and will be determined later by the Ministers of the Interior and Finance.
In addition, in contrast to the local authority, the corporation will pay corporation tax at the rate set by law (currently 36%) on its profits and in addition VAT on the turnover of its transactions. In our opinion, this could lead to a further increase in the price of water, if the Minister of Finance does not establish a separate tax arrangement for such corporations.
Indeed, the legislature also left this matter for the future, when it stated in the law that: "The Minister of Finance, with the approval of the Knesset Finance Committee, may prescribe special tax arrangements for companies, including tax rates that will apply to them" (see section 154 of the law).
In conclusion, it must be said that apart from the significant problems created by the law and the questions that arise in connection with its implementation, it is also clear that it is not completely ripe for implementation and the dynamics of the area will allow real content to be poured into it. Thus we see that a wide opening was left for the deputy legislators (we were the government ministers) to formulate rules from various rules regarding the conditions of transfer of assets and rights from the local authority to the company, including how to calculate the value of assets, etc.
In the short term, it seems that the local authority that will be forced to part with its assets and the significant cash flow for the provision of services is the big loser from the approval of the law. It is possible that for some authorities the loss of revenue will even cause a severe shock that will lead to the undermining of the entire financial system and will require vigorous government intervention. However, since the goal at the base of the law, i.e. creating an autonomous water and sewage economy separate from the local authority, is a goal that is difficult to find among the professionals disagrees on its necessity, because then it is hoped that law enforcement will go well There were good ones, but "the road to hell is also paved with good intentions."
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