World Water Day: Figures on the reality of water in Palestine

Every year on Monday (March 22nd), the world celebrates World Water Day.

According to a statement by the Palestinian Statistics Authority, although 99.8% of Palestinian families have access to improved drinking water, the quality of the water is at stake, as only 4% of the people of the Gaza Strip have access to safely managed water that is free of pollution.

Census data indicate that 39.5% of individuals in Palestine have access to safely managed water, and this percentage fluctuates between the West Bank, where it reaches 66.2% of individuals, compared to 4.3% of individuals in the Gaza Strip.

According to water statistics issued by the Water Authority for the year 2019, the amount of desalinated drinking water in the Gaza Strip amounted to only 4.1 million cubic meters.

The average Palestinian per capita consumption of water was 81.9 liters per day, and this rate reached 85.6 liters per day in the West Bank and 77 in the Gaza Strip, with a decrease of about 6 liters compared to last year due to the population increase. Usable water from the available quantities, the per capita share of fresh water is only 22.4 liters per day.

The rate of Palestinian water consumption per capita is still less than the internationally recommended minimum according to the standards of the World Health Organization, which is 100 liters per day, as a result of Israeli control over more than 85% of Palestinian water resources.

The amount of water extracted from the coastal basin in the Gaza Strip reached 187.6 million cubic meters during 2019, and this amount is considered over-pumping, as it should not exceed 50-60 million cubic meters per year, which led to the depletion of water reserves below the level of 19 meters. Below sea level, it also led to the interference of sea water, and sewage water seeped into the reservoir, which made more than 97% of the coastal basin water inconsistent with the standards of the World Health Organization.

Israel controls most of the water resources in Palestine, such as the waters of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, which are estimated at 250 million cubic meters, as well as groundwater sources, which forces the Palestinians to buy 20% of the water from the Israeli company, "Mekorot".


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