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Water Crisis in Gaza Strip A study of the Impact of Middle East Conflict Water Crisis in Gaza Strip A study of the Impact of Middle East Conflict upon Water Quantity and Quality in Gaza Strip By: Ayman H. Afifi Islamic University of Gaza Strip - Palestine Feb. 2009

Words of wisdom, “The political rhetoric and frequent violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often Words of wisdom, “The political rhetoric and frequent violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often serve to mask underlying environmental issues which, if not resolved, may pose an even greater threat to the well-being of the Palestinian population than the guns and bombs of the military occupation. “ Alice Gray Journalist Feb. 2007 2

Introduction Where are we? 3 Introduction Where are we? 3

Introduction A closer look: Jerusalem West Bank Gaza Strip 4 Introduction A closer look: Jerusalem West Bank Gaza Strip 4

Gaza Strip Population: 1, 422, 207 Area Sq. Km: 370 Population Density: 2763 Person Gaza Strip Population: 1, 422, 207 Area Sq. Km: 370 Population Density: 2763 Person Per Sq. Km. Northern Gaza ea Gaza ran ter di Me S ean Middle Area Khan Younis Rafah 5

Facts about Water in Gaza Strip: Gaza Strip is underlain by a shallow aquifer, Facts about Water in Gaza Strip: Gaza Strip is underlain by a shallow aquifer, which is contiguous with the Israeli coastal aquifer to the north. Gaza is the “downstream user” of the coastal aquifer system, and hence water abstraction in Gaza does not affect Israeli water supplies. This aquifer is the only source of water for Gaza Strip. The Gaza aquifer has a natural recharge rate of approximately 65 million cubic meters (MCM) of water per year from rainfall. However, annual discharge rate is 140 MCM which means that there is annual decrease of approximately 75 MCM in the underground water storage. 6

Direct Impacts of the conflict: • The implementation of the Costal Aquifer Management Plan Direct Impacts of the conflict: • The implementation of the Costal Aquifer Management Plan set by the Palestinian Water Authority in 2000 was halted due to the Israeli restrictions over Gaza Strip. • The supply of water from Israel has declined by 80% from 1998 -2006 in a breach of Oslo Accords, which led to a tremendous increase of domestic and agriculture wells in Gaza Strip. • Construction of 3 regional desalination plants and wastewater treatment plants halted due to their location near the Israeli borders and being subjected to fires several time. • Missile strikes and ground incursions have repeatedly damaged and destroyed water pipelines, sewage lines and water wells. • Failure to control over-pumping has led to sea-water intrusion into the aquifer to the extent that, in 2003, only 10 % of the Gaza wells were producing water according to World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water standards. 7

Water Quantity problem Source: Palestinian Water Authority; assessment of water demand in West Bank Water Quantity problem Source: Palestinian Water Authority; assessment of water demand in West Bank and Gaza Strip, May 2007 8

Water Quality Issues • A total of 32 MCM is produced in Gaza Strip Water Quality Issues • A total of 32 MCM is produced in Gaza Strip every year. 20% of which is infiltrated into the aquifer using the cesspits. • 80% of the sewage water is pumped to the sea (treated and untreated) which causes a contamination to the underground water due to the sea water intrusion. 9

Water Quality Issues; chemical contamination WHO standards ppm 10 Water Quality Issues; chemical contamination WHO standards ppm 10

Total Coliform Biological Contamination 11 Gaza’s Sea Water Total Coliform Biological Contamination 11 Gaza’s Sea Water

Water Projects 1. Water Consumption awareness program for primary and elementary school students: • Water Projects 1. Water Consumption awareness program for primary and elementary school students: • Direct Beneficiaries: 181, 738 school students in 191 schools. • Conducted by: Natuf Association for Environment and Community development (local NGO) • Funded by: Norwegian People Aids. 12

Water Projects 2. Preparing several development projects in the water/wastewater sector by the Islamic Water Projects 2. Preparing several development projects in the water/wastewater sector by the Islamic University of Gaza individuals and presenting possible solution for Gaza Water Crisis, such as: • Development of wastewater information system project in Gaza Strip for the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority. • Preparing Environmental Impact Assessment reports and conducting several training courses for municipalities engineers and mayors. • Setting up guidelines for Public awareness campaigns for environment reservation for the benefit of Costal Municipalities Water Utilities in Gaza Strip. • Providing several consulting services for the benefit of Water utilities in Gaza Strip, including supervising water/wastewater projects, technical, financial and managerial assistance services. 13

Recommendations • The equity in water shares and water distribution between Palestinian and Israeli Recommendations • The equity in water shares and water distribution between Palestinian and Israeli citizens. • Water consumption awareness programs for community in Gaza Strip to be driven by youths and directed to local community. • Drinking water quality-related awareness campaigns supervised by the university experts and conducted by environmental engineering students. The projects are to be directed to communities and neighborhoods committees with serious water quality problems. 14

Thank you. . Questions Thank you. . Questions