Global Research - Ninety percent of Gaza has no safe drinking water and by 2020, none of the water in the blockaded enclave will be usable if nothing is done, the World Bank said this week.
As recently as the late 1990s, tap water in Gaza was safe to drink, World Bank Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Adnan Ghosheh said in his statement on the World Bank website this week. But since then, so much water has been pumped from the natural aquifer underneath Gaza that seawater has seeped in, spoiling the water and making it too salty for drinking.
Gaza’s nearly 2 million residents, therefore, rely on about 150 water truck operators selling desalinated filtered drinking water. However, “It’s more expensive and not an improved source of water, according to our definitions of water clean enough to drink,” Ghosheh said.
And while salty water may suffice for some household necessities, it’s hardly among the comforts of a Gaza home. “The water we have, when it’s on, it’s not clean; it’s undrinkable. It hurts the eyes because of the high salinity,” Nahed Radwan, a Gaza resident, told Al Jazeera in a report over the summer. Radwan said her taps are usually running once a week for two days.
Israel supplies water to Gaza, but the amounts have not kept pace with population growth in the penned-in area often described as an open-air prison. The volume of water provided under the 1993 Oslo Accords “falls far short of what [Gaza] needs now,” Ghosheh said.
The Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee has not met in years, Medialine reported. Israeli officials say the Palestinians are not interested in meeting, while Palestinian officials say they will not approve more water for Jewish communities in the West Bank, which they say are already receiving as much water as they need.