A new report from the World Bank has warned that water resources in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are “getting dangerously scarce”, Quds Press reported on Wednesday. The situation is described as “disastrous”.
A water and sanitation expert at the bank, Adnan Ghosha, said that just 10 per cent of Gaza’s residents get safe drinking water compared to 90 per cent in the West Bank. Untreated sewage from the densely populated territory and refugee camps, he explained, leaks into and pollutes the underground aquifers; it also pours untreated into the sea.
In addition, he said that the reduced availability of fresh water along with an increasing population is leading to a rise in water-related illnesses. The official said that 150 companies offer a kind of filtered water for cooking and drinking, but it is not yet considered “safe based on the [World Health Organisation] definition of safe drinking water.”
According to Ghosha, the Israeli occupation authorities supply water at a much lower rate than demands guaranteed in the Oslo agreement for the Palestinians in Gaza. “This makes Gazans depend on underground water in addition to the Israeli supplies,” he explained, “and this does not meet their needs.”
The World Bank report noted that getting water in the occupied West Bank is a “difficult challenge” and cited areas where nobody has more than 25 to 30 litres per day, instead of the 120 litres recommended by the WHO.