Friday, June 13, 2014

Water in Gaza - what the analysts are saying

IRIN:  A dry winter in the Middle East is being studied particularly closely in Gaza, where the area’s 1.9 million residents already face a number of largely man-made threats to water security. The following round-up of recent publications by think tanks, analysts and human rights organizations highlights the close link between water security and electricity supplies, and the near exhaustion of Gaza’s coastal aquifer.

A power crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) has reduced the availability of running water in most households, according to a factsheet produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), with more than 30 percent of homes in Gaza receiving running water for just 6-8 hours every four days.

In March, a petition signed by nearly 13,000 people and organised by the Emergency Water and Sanitation-Hygiene Group (EWASH), a coalition which includes national and international NGOs and UN agencies, was handed to the European Parliament to urge action to end the water crisis in Gaza.

“The scale and severity of the water crisis facing the Gaza Strip is enormous, and unless immediate action is taken, the damage to Gaza’s natural water resources will be irreversible,” says a factsheet produced by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).

At least 90 percent of the water supply in Gaza is contaminated with a combination of nitrate (NO3) or chloride (Cl), according to PWA, which says water quantity is also an issue, with average consumption of 90 litres per person per day, below recommended guidelines for minimum health requirements say EWASH....

NASA image of the Gaza Strip from space

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