New pipe in Israel aims to halt worship water shortage

February 10, 2011

JERUSALEM (RNS) Israeli officials have installed an $11 million pipe to
ease a weekly water shortage on Fridays as observant Jews prepare for
the Sabbath and Muslims ritually wash themselves before weekly prayers.

Until now, water pressure has been low in some parts of Jerusalem
during the hours leading up to Shabbat, which begins at sundown Friday
night and ends on Saturday night.

Demand for water is highest on Fridays, when Jewish households
traditionally prepare multi-course meals and line up for their
pre-Shabbat showers.

Muslims, who compose roughly a third of the city's population, also
utilize more water on Friday, the Muslim holy day, as they prepare to go
to mosques for morning prayers.

"Every Friday afternoon, we see at our control center a sharp rise
in demand for water because of showers for the Sabbath. This demand
usually results in a drop in water pressure," said Moshe Katchin,
chairman of Hagihon, the Israeli national water company.

The benefits of the new 52-inch pipe "will be felt in homes across
the city," Katchin said.

"The pipe is very welcome," said an ultra-Orthodox father of 11
children in Jerusalem, who gave his name only as Avraham. "It can be
difficult if you're the last person in our family taking a shower."