Our water resources are under Israeli control

Since its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip on June 4, 1967, Israel has not stopped trying to control our water supply and the natural resources of our land. The water sector needs administrative regulation and laws that protect citizens and accommodate their water needs.


In this investigation, the occupation's control over Palestinian water sources is clear, while this investigation reveals the magnitude of the high water prices compared to the countries of the world, as well as the seriousness of the collection water wells that lack the elements of public safety.

Since its establishment, there is no water system in the village of Attara, south of Jenin, which has been established by the Romans to date, and its inhabitants depend on the water collected by the wells, the water tanks purchased by the residents on the houses at high prices, and what concerns the residents also the lack of a sewage system, which makes the possibility of contamination of drinking water A list.


More than a month ago, Mrs. Safaa Hourani from the town of Attara was surprised by the death of her five-year-old son Zain drowned in a deep water well on the night of her brother's wedding, forcing the family to postpone the wedding ceremony, and the pain of loss continues to accompany Safaa, but what she is interested in is not to repeat the death of her son drowned with other children, in the shadow of Some of them are dug up inside agricultural land and exposed without doors, which threatens the lives of residents, Safaa tells Al-Quds.


On the evening of November 22, 2019, Zain was having fun with his friends next to his grandfather's house for his mother, where zain's uncle's wedding, and suddenly a friend came to tell him that Zain fell into a hole, Safaa (mother) went quickly to find her child fell into a water well for zain's grandparents 6 meters deep, whose owners had filled it several hours ago They were watered by a tank driver and left the well open, and there was no door at all, but covered with a piece of wood, a stone and a sabla to fill the water in the well, safaa confirms.


The next day, Zain died at the age of flowers, opening the door and answering questions, and sounding the alarm to stand the officials on their responsibilities regarding Zain's death, and in order to end that suffering with the lack of a safety and protection system in the licensing of those wells, Safaa explains, which indicates that some wells are covered instead of gates With wooden pieces!

Wells and ponds farm fisheries for children... 24 deaths in 4 yearsAccording to a report obtained from the Civil Defense, in the past four years, 24 deaths from drowning in agricultural wells and ponds have been recorded, but those deaths have gradually declined, with 8 people dying in 2016, 7 in 2017, 5 in 2018 and 4 in 2019.


Civil Defense spokesman Nael Al-Azza confirms that ministries, competent authorities and each law enforcement institution are supposed to approve a set of executive regulations to be enforced by law, and submit them to the Council of Ministers for approval by law, in order to address the issue of the construction of water wells and ponds. Agricultural and absorbent drilling to reduce their dangerousness.

95% of west bank water networks reach 60% of intermittent subscribersAccording to Ms. Aisha Mahmoud, the people of Ceres suffer from water shortages only rarely, but they prefer to use the water of the network for cleaning, and use the water of the assembly well in the yard of her house for drinking and cooking, because of its cleanliness and acceptable taste more than the water of the network because there are steriles in the water of the network, pointing out Before the winter season of each year, she cleans the roof of her house to reach the clean well, cleans the well once every year or two, and makes sure that the water well has a well with a sealed gate and locks for fear of falling children there.


In 1987, the water system was established in the village of Shaqba, west of Ramallah, and only a quarter of it was renewed 14 years ago, where it was supposed to be renovated, but the project was then halted by USAID funders, and the network is currently suffering from the rate of damage that has reached more R of 35%, explains the chairman of the Village Council of Shaqba Adnan Shalsh In, and points out that the water in the network is cut only once once because of the proximity of Shaqba to the artesian well in the nearby village of Shabbatin.

According to The Acting Director General of the General Department of Water Resources at the Water Authority Omar Zayed, 95% of the Palestinian areas have water networks except for several villages in Jenin, including the village of Atarah, which in the coming period is trying to establish a water system for it." In the case of the water source, the water supply is subsequently provided, despite Israeli obstructions, and some villages do not have water sources, so they have to buy water from the Israeli company McKraut."


"95% of the population has networks, but 30% only have access to water once a week, and about 28% get it two to three times a week," said Abdul Rahman al-Tamimi, director general of the Palestinian Hydrologists Association.


"Despite the 95% of the water networks in the West Bank, 60% of the participants receive water through the networks with interruptions and irregular lycées, as Israel has complied with the water agreement in accordance with the water agreement," said Mohammed Saeed Hamidi, executive director of the Water Sector Regulatory Council. Oslo, which did not take into account the increase in population and the demand for water, which led to an increased shortage and failure to meet the needs of the citizen, as Israel aims to have the Palestinians fully dependent on water, so that all the elements of development are in their hands, and turn us into a market for Israeli desalinated water at prices "The water we receive from Israel through the networks is water mixed with desalinated water, although its quality is acceptable," he said. ...

The idea of connecting villages with no networks or water sources from cities or towns with adequate water sources seems to be an important step to solve this problem, as in the village of Madma, south of Nablus, where the network was established about six years ago, and it was washed from the water of the Municipality of Nablus, and the water in the network is cut off only once or passed. It was only in the summer, while before the construction of the network, Madma relied on the only water eye in the village through the tanks before it was taken over by the occupation, explains the chairman of the village council, Madma Ihab.

Prepaid payment system is a burden on the poorAisha Mahmoud, from The Village of Serres, south of Jenin, does not have a prepaid counter on the water subscription line for her home, and she receives an invoice, but she prefers the prepayment system to not accumulate debts, while she fears that the prepayment system will be a burden on the poor who may not find money to ship the advance water card. Payment.


In the town of Kafal Haris in The Province of Salfit, residents do not accept prepaid meters for fear of interruption, although their installation makes it easier for the municipality to collect dues, according to its president Issam Abu Yaacoub, who points out that the water does not stop in the town, and that the network's water lines are taken from the Israeli company Mekraut. From 1982 until now.


The Acting Director General of the Water Resources Department at the Water Authority, Omar Zayed, explains that the Water Authority encourages the installation of water prepayment meters, taking into account humanitarian situations, "as prepayment enables economic water savings, and enables the service provider to provide Maintenance of the network and water system.""

The Director General of the Palestinian Hydrologists Association, Abdul Rahman al-Tamimi, said that "in accordance with Palestinian law, the PNA is supposed to provide citizens with their drinking needs as a human right, but with more than 1.2 billion shekels in debt to citizens and municipalities. The West Bank Water Department found a way to install pre-payment meters for water.


Al-Tamimi explains that the solution is not only to install prepaid meters, but also that the hands of some municipalities should stop distributing water, because they do not manage water properly, and there are municipalities that collect water prices and spend them on other issues, so it needs to be regulated.


According to The Executive Director of the Water Sector Regulatory Council Mohammed Saeed Hamidi, the prepayment meter is a way to calculate the quantities of water, and it can be dealt with in a positive way so as not to negatively affect any citizen, and if no citizen is able to pay, it is not the responsibility of the service providers, but it is the responsibility of the hungry. Charity, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the citizen have the right to water.


During the past period, local authorities have been able to install about 100,000 prepaid meters in the West Bank, and in the areas where these meters have been installed, the obligation to pay dues has become greater, enabling the service provider to meet its obligations, he said, stressing that what prompted the installation of these The meter is that the collection rate of service providers did not reach 10%, which does not enable them to carry out their duties, and noted the great waste of water from those who are not committed to payment, and after the installation of the meters we have an abundance, which is reflected on all the beneficiaries of the service and saves on the citizen.


On whether the installation of prepaid meters will have a positive impact on water prices, Hamidi explains that it makes sense to provide wage stipends, the water bill is made up of (employees, energy, purchase price), but we have noticed in some areas where there are no staff reading the presence of thefts and losses in The network, after all, is positive about the installation of these meters, because it helps local bodies to carry out their tasks, regulates consumption, and saves water.


According to Hamidi, the debts of local bodies of the West Bank Water Authority amounted to 1.2 billion shekels, while the debts of local authorities to citizens amounted to 1.6 billion shekels, some of which have a debt collection rate of only 10%.

The waters of the West Bank are in the grip of occupationAccording to the Oslo Accords, 118 million cubic meters of water is available to Palestinians, accounting for 15 percent of the amount of renewable water in the West Bank, which is produced from underground wells and springs, and is used mainly for drinking, agriculture, industry and tourism according to importance, according to al-Qaim. Omar Zayed, Director General of the General Department of Water Resources at the Water Authority.


Despite Israel's control over West Bank water, 38 working water wells in the West Bank have been built by Israel in the past years to supply settlements and pump to them by about 50 million cubic meters per year and continuously, and the share of water for settlers is between 4-8 times the share of water for Palestinians, according to Areas.


Palestinians own some 380 working water wells in the West Bank used for drinking and agriculture, in addition to the presence of more than 700 unfunctioned and abandoned wells, and the occupation authorities, through the so-called "civil administration", prevent any rehabilitation, restoration or authorization of water wells except from the Joint Water Commission, even if they are excavated or A new well that is vulnerable to demolition has been restored, and talk of israeli dams in the West Bank has not yet been monitored by the water authority.


There are 700 Palestinian-owned springs and springs in the West Bank, of which 130 are regularly monitored by the Water Authority to ensure their flow, installation and pollution-free, some of which are used to feed water systems, zayed said, referring to the drying up of many wells and springs in The Jordan Valley is due to the drilling of Israeli wells and the theft of Palestinian water from the West Bank.


In the first month of the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the occupation army officer appointed a water officer and issued a military order restricting everything related to water, withdrawing powers from the relevant Palestinian local authorities, and not issuing approval to drill or construct a water well in the West Bank until the arrival of The Palestinian Authority, as wells have been drilled under joint approvals, as the West Bank receives 850 million cubic meters of renewable sources annually, said Walid Assaf, head of the Committee for Resistance to The Wall and Settlements, at an event for "Jerusalem.".


According to Assaf, Israel controls 82% of water sources, the Palestinians control only 18%, or about 150 million cubic meters, and spring water produces 84 million cubic meters per year, but the settlers have controlled more than 50% of them, and another part has dried up because of the uses and theft of Israeli settlers and companies, There were deeper wells dug by settlers to irrigate their land, which led to the drying up of these springs and the desertification of Palestinian farms, and the settlers took control of 124,000 dunums, mostly in the Jordan Valley, and planted them using Palestinian water, and those lands produced about 5 billion shekels a year, and even The Waters of the Jordan River, with a Palestinian share of 240 million cubic meters, were fully withdrawn to the Negev in the 1960s.


The palestinian per capita per capita is 150 cubic meters per year for all purposes, while the settler's share is 500-600 cubic meters per year for all purposes, and this disparity is illustrated by Israel's control of 80% of the water resources in the West Bank and giving the Palestinians about 20% (160 cubic meters). Abdul Rahman al-Tamimi, director general of the Palestinian Hydrologists Association, points out that there are 650-700 million cubic meters of renewable energy annually from rainwater.
Al-Tamimi points out that there is a source of water in Palestine, one of which is underground, 80% of which is controlled by Israel, and a source of surface water, where Israel prevents Palestinians from building dams and seeks to build them for settlement purposes, and the waters of the Jordan River have not benefited palestinians since 1967.


The springs and water basins in the West Bank have dried up due to the increased pumping from the eastern basin that has drained, in addition to changing rain seasons, "we need 400 million cubic meters of water per year, and Israel gives us only 150 million cubic meters of it," al-Tamimi said.

Water disaster awaited in Gaza

In the Gaza Strip, Tamimi emphasizes the disastrous state of the water there, saying: "The UN report published in 2017 states that Gaza is uninhabitable in 2020 in terms of drinking water."


"This leads to the entry of seawater and groundwater salt, where 95% of Gaza's water is unfit for human consumption, and even 30% unfit for agriculture, amid the low level of groundwater, in addition to the fact that Israel has deployed a number of underground wells and dams along the The borders of the Gaza Strip are stolen to prevent fresh water, whether from rain or groundwater, to torture the basin in the Gaza Strip."


With regard to the reality of water in Jerusalem, Tamimi emphasizes that drinking water is from The Jehun Company, and there is no problem with it, and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem it is fed with water through the Jerusalem Water Authority in Ramallah.


Absorbing drilling threatens groundwater and does not protect collection wellsCitizens in rural areas, especially those who do not have water or sewage systems, are afraid of the issue of drinking water pollution, abdul rahman tamimi said that the solution only by establishing water systems and digging tunnels absorbing sanitation so that they are deaf and do not spread their water in the soil and pollute the water, as villages and towns have expanded Its area, and most of these villages use absorbent pits rather than endocrine pits, because the endocrine is expensive to construct and dispose of its stock, but it is necessary or a sewage system to protect water.


Al-Tamimi stressed that the provision of the protection system for collection wells is linked to the role of local councils not to license a house without protection or detection of wells, so that they are closed or the owner is forced to operate a well protection system.


Mohammed Saeed Hamidi, executive director of the Water Sector Regulatory Council, said that the transportation of water in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through tanks is not subject to control, making it unsafe, stressing the need for oversight, and that this will be discussed with the Council of Ministers to find a law regulating it.


Speaking with Hamidi on the issue of water pollution and control of collection wells and sewage systems, he stressed that only 35% of citizens have sewage systems, and sanitation control is much more important than water control, because it is a source of water pollution, as absorbent drilling is scattered in the ground and is not deaf. "We will make recommendations to the Council of Ministers on the control of the drilling of collection wells and absorption pits, which must be regulated to create a safety system."


Omar Zayed explains that there are awareness programs targeting schools how to deal with wells, clean and sterilize them, the family has a responsibility to do so, he says: "We encourage the drilling of collection wells in each house, and we encourage work on a law regulating the procedures and safety system for drilling wells."

Palestinians buy their stolen water at high pricesIt is noteworthy that the prices of water in Palestine are high, where Abdul Rahman Tamimi explains that prices are inflated because they are purchased from the company "McKraut" or water wells controlled by the so-called "Israeli Civil Administration", and then sold to local authorities, there are more than one party in the purchase process, It increases its price, as it is high and the price is measured by per capita income by 2-2.5% of per capita income, which is 10 times the global average water price, since income is low.


On the high price of water tanks ,"tankers are transported", al-Tamimi stressed that a special system must be found to allow these tanks to be transported through a specific license, so as to determine the price of the tank and to ascertain the source of water for its safety from pollution, while al-Tamimi emphasizes the need for a special system through the Palestinian authorities. The Palestinian decision-maker should put the water problem on top of his priorities and deal with it as a socio-economic issue because our population growth is not commensurate with our dwindling sources, and instead of increasing the availability of water, there is a high risk of water decline. Available for drinking and agriculture, which threatens the food and water security of the Palestinian people."


Hamidi explains that water prices provided in Palestine are very expensive, especially since 85% of the water through the networks is purchased from Israeli or Palestinian sources, while stressing that the profit margin in the water is only simple for the maintenance of the network.


"Water prices are high because there is only one water source, and we have tried to think of finding other water sources to buy them from neighboring countries such as Egypt and Turkey, but this needs infrastructure," hamidi said, adding that "water depends on the cost of buying it, which is high, and its transport, which needs energy, which is high." Currently, although some wells have a tendency to replace energy with an alternative energy, all of these things determine prices."


For his part, Omar Zeid explains that prices vary between each region and another in the provinces, due to the cost of water production, and the price per cubic meter between (1.5 shekels) and (6 shekels), while water prices in Palestine are believed to be high compared to their prices in the world.


The Water Authority is also trying to control the prices of a cup of water transported by tankers according to its potential, while, as part of its programme of work, it is working to monitor water systems, whether related to their damage or waste allowance, water quality and drinking suitability.


Law to regulate the work of the water sector and water interests ends the role of municipalities

In 2014, a law was passed and amended in 2019 to regulate the work of the water sector, and set the powers for each institution, so that the powers of the Water Authority are to plan and develop strategies, regulations and laws, and the Water Sector Regulatory Council has a supervisory role, as well as the establishment of a national water company to replace the West Bank Water Authority, and the formation of Regional water interests number 4-6 interests covering the country, with the service of providing water from local authorities, and there is a trend in the coming period to implement the first water works in Salfit and Jenin, Hamidi said.


Hamidi stresses that the presence of 272 water service providers in the West Bank is too large compared to palestine's geographical area, which distracts efforts to distribute services, and the lack of regional water services to provide service, distracts development efforts and makes water expensive and unregulated.


Palestinian strategic plan for rain harvest, Israel steals rainwater by erecting fisheries in the valleysThere are no desalination projects for the public sector in the West Bank, but they are limited projects for the private sector, while the reuse of treated water has two main stations and some small plants, which are used in agriculture, but there is a strategic plan for the reuse of treated water in agriculture, according to Omar Zayed.


The Water Authority is preparing a strategic water harvesting plan in cooperation with ministries competent to benefit from rainwater by constructing small dams and agricultural ponds, with four dams, each with a capacity of half a million cubic metres per year, and an agricultural pond in various areas of the West Bank initially, In addition to small ponds for farmers.


Walid Assaf, head of the Committee for The Resistance to The Wall and Settlements, said That Israel is seeking to build ponds and dams on the valleys that extend eastward in the Valleys to be used for the benefit of the settlers, and those ponds are erected by settlers individually without engineering standards silently from the occupation, some of which were destroyed as a result of the construction Assaf confirms that Israel, wherever it finds water, controls nearby land and expels farmers, in addition to destroying water wells and Palestinian transport lines, and does not allow the establishment and establishment of palestinian water. Or the restoration of wells and transmission lines, and israel's plan now to control the valleys and attack any water project to displace Palestinians, while indicating that it is the Committee for the Resistance of the Wall and Settlements is working to reconstruct the destroyed water lines and reservoirs from the occupation.


18 years ago, it published the so-called "Israeli Civil Administration", its vision of building Israeli dams in the West Bank to steal rainwater to take advantage of the valley sawages, after which the idea was discontinued for unknown reasons, but Israel reintroduced this concept several months ago, as a result of the settlements in The mountainous areas are taking on a new form, which is industrial or agricultural, and they need water for settlement expansion, tamimi said.


The waters of the West Bank are of great importance, as when Israel publishes water statistics, the West Bank water accounts for part of its water budget, and Israel's water strategy is published and known to provide the Palestinian people with water from domestic desalination plants at a commercial price. The underground and surface West Bank will be used for settlement.


According to Tamimi, Israel has 12 desalination plants, 4 of which are in place, 4 are under construction, and 4 are planned to be built until 2025. The West Bank, Israel wants to catch rainwater in the westbound valleys, much of which is economically viable.


Al-Tamimi stressed that the Palestinians can only build dams with the permission of the Israelis, and all the dams will be in areas of "C", and according to Oslo, "the water has not been transferred to the authority in areas B and C, and therefore prior authorization from the Joint Commission and the so-called Civil Administration, etc. Dams can be built, but Israel remains threatened, and not allowing them means demolishing them."

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