More than 95% of the Gaza water is undrinkable
Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) warned on Sunday of an imminent clean water crisis due to strict Israeli siege, ongoing electricity balckouts.
Deputy Head of the PWA Mazen Al-Banna told a press conference that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have access to just 60 litres of clean water per person per day.
This, he explained, is around half of the amount recommended by the World Health Organisation. Indeed, added Al-Banna, in areas of the coastal enclave, just 29 litres of clean water are available to each citizen because water pumps are out of service as a direct result of electricity shortages.
He also pointed out that pollution is being caused by raw sewage flowing directly into the sea and contaminating underground water reserves.
Furthermore, the aquifer beneath Gaza has been overused and is thus badly depleted, with seawater seeping into the supply chain. The salinity of the water is around eight times the level permitted by the WHO.
The water reserves also have high levels of nitrates. Aside from the sewage contamination, this is believed to be a result of the chemical fertilisers used by Israeli settlers washing down towards Gaza and through the soil into the aquifer.
According to Al-Banna, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah has asked Israel to stop deducting payments for the clean water pumped into Gaza from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA, and ask the government in Gaza to pay for it instead.
PA part of the crisis
This is yet another example of the measures taken by the Fatah-controlled PA under Mahmoud Abbas to try to damage the de fact Hamas government in Gaza.
Doing this, it is applying what is to all intents and purposes collective punishment on Palestinian citizens in the besieged territory.
“In the light of the strict siege, Gaza citizens are unable to pay their bills, so the Gaza municipality is unable to pay the Israeli water bill,” said Al-Banna.
He warned that the Israeli water is the only clean water source available for human consumption in the Gaza Strip.
Warnings about the water crisis in Gaza have been in circulation since at least 2013, but little is being done to alleviate the problem.