Israel to Double Supply of Water to Gaza Starting This Week – But Additional Urgent Efforts Still Needed
March 5, 2015
Following EcoPeace Middle East’s efforts since early 2014 to advocate for Israeli action to alleviate Gaza’s water crisis, the Coordinator of the Israeli Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has announced that starting this week, Israel will double the supply of water to the strip. See link to EcoPeace Report here.
Israel will now be selling 10 million cubic meters (MCM) to Gaza, 5 mcm of additional water; an important step that will help the 1.8 million Palestinian residents of Gaza to overcome the severe shortage of potable water.
Gidon Bromberg, EcoPeace’s Israeli Director says “We congratulate the Israeli Authorities for this important decision to double the supply of water to Gaza and call on them to compliment this important move by further enlarging the quantity of water to Gaza by an additional 10 mcm, to match the full capacity of their existing infrastructure.”
The full capacity of three existing connections through which water can be transferred from Israel to Gaza is approximately 20.5 million cubic meters (MCM): 8.5 in the two old connections through which Israel has been selling 5 MCM annually, and 12 MCM in the new connection at Nahal Oz.
We call for similar interim measures to be taken by Israel to alleviate Gaza’s energy crisis as well. In particular, we encourage the authorities to accept the World Bank’s request for 3 megawatts of electricity (to be paid for by the World Bank ) that are needed in order to operate the newly-built, but inoperative, Northern Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment Facility.
“Making sure that the sewage treatment facility has electricity to start operations is clearly in Israel’s best interest: over 90,000 cubic meters of raw or partially treated sewage from Gaza is unsustainably disposed every day, infiltrating the shared Coastal Aquifer and making its way into the Mediterranean, where the currents carry it towards the beaches of Ashkelon were Israel desalinates water for domestic use,” continued Mr. Bromberg.
In the mid to long term, Israel should facilitate the Palestinian Government’s efforts to develop the Gaza marine gas field and assist the efforts of the Palestinian Water Authority and the international community to build a large desalination plant in Gaza that would fully meet the needs of the population.