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The drought tax will be suspended between January 1, 2010 and April 15, 2010, and resumption of the levy will be contingent on rainfall levels over the winter, according to a decision approved by the Knesset in its second and third readings yesterday.

The bill was submitted by a group of MKs headed by Moshe Gafni, Amnon Cohen and Uri Maklev.

The new law extends the deadline for reporting the number of residents in a single household, on the basis of which the tax rate is calculated, to the end of this month. In addition, for households that fail to report the number of residents living there, the drought tax will be based on the water supplier's record in its most recent bill, and not assumed to be a single resident.

The minimum of water allocated per person at minimum rates will also be increased from 12 cubic meters to 16 cubic meters, and only half of the joint water bill (for watering apartment building lawns, for instance) will be included in the minimum monthly water allocation per person.