Why water should be on the table http://jfjfp.com/?p=46608&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-water-should-be-on-the-table
COMPARING WATER USE
Both absolutely and proportionately, Israelis use a far greater
amount of the region’s total water resources. Settlers use nearly 600
litres of water each day. Palestinian water use does not even meet the
minimum daily standard of 100 litres as recommended by the World Health
VIOLATIONS OF PALESTINIANS’ RIGHT TO WATER
With no piped water, Palestinian boys fetch it to load onto their water carrier, a donkey. Photo by Issam Rimawi / APA images.
While Israelis and settlers get continuous water supply from Mekorot
all year-round at subsidized prices, Palestinians face these situations:
• Irregular water supply across the West Bank, particularly in the water-scarce summer months.
• Depleted/contaminated/salinated water in Gaza because of
over-extraction of the Coastal Aquifer – due in part to the fact that
Palestinians are not allowed to develop or repair water infrastructure.
• Water distribution network losses of 30 –50% because of deteriorating networks and leaky pipes in dire need of repair.
• No piped water at all for 215,000 Palestinians in 150 West Bank villages (26% of West Bank households).
• Many Palestinians must buy water – either from Mekorot, or from
private suppliers selling expensive and unregulated trucked water. Even
within the oPt, Mekorot’s prices are different for Palestinians and
SINCE THE SECOND INTIFADA: IN THE NAME OF “SECURITY”
• Destruction of water infrastructure. The Israeli army have
bulldozed pipelines and destroyed at least 15 wells in the West Bank and
Gaza since September 2000 – eliminating the largest water source for
many Palestinian villages and towns. Between March and May of 2002
alone, the World Bank, UNDP and USAID estimate that damage to West Bank
water supply and sewerage infrastructure by the Israeli military reached
• Limited access to trucked water. Israel’s policy of ‘closure’
severely limits access to water carriers in a context where more than a
third of all Palestinians rely on buying water from private or municipal
tankers for their water needs.
• Increased price of water. Water tankers delayed at checkpoints
raise their prices by almost 80% because of the increased transportation
time due to closure. With 70-90% of the workforce unemployed,
Palestinians spend as much as 39% of their household expenditure on
• Ban on drilling wells. In October 2002, Israeli infrastructure
minister Effi Eitam banned Palestinians from drilling for water and
placed a freeze on the issue of future permits for wells.
• Separation from water sources. In June of 2002, the Israeli
government authorized a plan to build a ‘security wall’ – more
accurately referred to as a ‘Separation Wall’ or ‘Apartheid Wall’ – with
electric fences, trenches and security patrols along the entire 220
mile length of the West Bank. However, the Wall is not being built along
the ‘Green Line’ (the de facto pre-1967 border between Israel and the
West Bank) – but rather inside the West Bank.
The Wall separates thousands of Palestinians from their land and
water sources. In the first phase of the wall, several
agriculture-dependent villages in the northern West Bank will lose
access to 30 groundwater wells.
• Increase in water-borne diseases: Recent surveys have found
infection rates from waterrelated diseases as high as 64% in certain
communities in the West Bank. A recent study shows that over a quarter
of rural households in the West Bank has a member suffering from
diarrhoea; over half of these households had not had adequate bathing
water for over two weeks
POLLUTION OF PALESTINIAN WATER SOURCES BY ISRAEL
• Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza are mostly located on
hilltops and dump manure, untreated sewage and wastewater into the
valleys – polluting Palestinian water sources and agricultural land.
According to 1997 figures from the West Bank, settlers were 6 times more
polluting that Palestinians (300,000 settlers produced 30 mcm of
wastewater a year, while in the same period, 1,870,000 Palestinians
produced 31 mcm of wastewater).
• Highly polluting Israeli industries are being relocated to the West
Bank (again, on hilltops) to avoid Israeli environmental regulations.
At least 200 industries in 7 industrial zones in the West Bank send
untreated industrial effluents and wastewater into Palestinian streams
and agricultural land.
• In February 2001, Israel discharged 3.5 million cubic meters of
untreated wastewater mixed with rainwater into northern Gaza strip
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) haslaunched the Palestine Water
for Life Campaign to promote worldwide awareness of the water and
sanitation situation in Palestine, as well as todevelop coordinated,
comprehensive responses to the water crisis among donor, development,
relief, human rights, and other NGOs. Please visit the campaign website
at www.phg.org/campaign for more information about how you can support
The Palestinian Environmental NGO Network (PENGON) has initiated the
Apartheid Wall Campaign to raise awareness of andorganize opposition to
the “Separation Wall” which is threatening Palestinians’ access to and
control over their own water resources. Learn more about the Campaign
and how to support PENGON at www.pengon.org.
Nurturing Water Apartheid in Palestine
Israel’s water company Mekorot Factsheet by Stop the Wall
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