The Israeli parliament on Tuesday passed a bill that would grant citizens the right to drink purified water as well as salt water as public health measures.
The bill, which had already passed the lower house of the Israeli parliament, would permit the consumption of water, as well, if it was produced from recycled waste water.
The water would be sold and distributed to people in need of water in a public water distribution network.
The proposal comes as Israel is dealing with an unprecedented outbreak of water-borne illnesses, with more than 200 people suffering from dehydration and vomiting in the past two weeks.
More than 100,000 Israelis are without clean drinking water, according to the World Health Organization, and the health ministry has warned that the outbreak could spiral out of control in coming days.
Israel has seen an increase in cases of acute gastroenteritis, and in the coming weeks, a government official told the Israeli daily Haaretz that waterborne infections were “growing at a very high rate.”
Israel has seen more than 1,000 cases of waterborne illnesses in just the past four days, and a total of 2,942 infections in the previous two weeks, according the government.
The bill passed Tuesday in the Knesset passed with a majority of lawmakers voting for the measure, with all of the pro-Israeli parties voting against it.
The proposed legislation is being seen as a response to the current outbreak.
“Water is the first casualty of this crisis, and we can’t afford to lose this precious resource,” a representative of the Green Party, Yossi Melman, told The Associated Press.
In Israel, drinking water is considered essential for survival.
A growing number of people are suffering from water-related illnesses, such as acute gastroenophagic fever (EGF), acute watery diarrhea (AWD), watery eyes and conjunctivitis, which can lead to vomiting.
Efforts to increase water-purification technologies have led to the development of a new technology, the Salt Water Filter, that can purify up to 500 gallons (1,400 liters) of water per minute.