Gaza suffering from serious water crisis
The Palestinian Water and Environmental Quality Authority says the drop in groundwater level in most areas of the Gaza Strip is due to the depletion of the coastal aquifer in the Strip.
The Gaza Strip is suffering from an acute water crisis after its coastal aquifer was depleted "dangerously", the Palestinian Water and Environmental Quality Authority said.
The Director-General of the Planning and Awareness Unit in the Water Authority, Mazen al-Banna, told a press conference the coastal aquifer, Gaza's only aquifer, provides over 90% of the water needs of the residents of the strip.
The depletion of the resources, according to the Palestinian official, "led to a steady decrease in the levels of underground water in the majority of the strip."
The salt content of water in water wells is two-fold that of the international standards of potable water, al-Banna added, noting that this poses a threat to the lives of citizens.
He further explained that the increase in salinity is due to seawater along the coast overlapping with that of wells, and the low quality of the water rendered 98% of the water non-potable.
The official also cited the contamination of drinking water, which occurred due to the leakage of sewage into the water supplies, and he held the Israeli occupation responsible for the water crisis in Gaza, as well as the depletion.
"The occupation is responsible for the decreasing levels of underground water through its obstruction of the natural lateral flow of water along the eastern border," he added.
"Tel Aviv" is preventing surface water from reaching the Gaza Strip in the rainy season through the various valleys that lead there through the separation wall it built between the occupied Palestinian territories and Gaza, the official highlighted.
The blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for more than 15 years, he added, prevents the Palestinian authorities from importing sufficient materials to implement water projects and wastewater treatment facilities.
He called on the international community "to pressure the Israeli occupation to lift the blockade on Gaza and seize the Palestinian rights to underground water and surface water" and prevent "Tel Aviv" from confiscating them.
Al-Banna further called on the international community to provide funding for the establishment of a seawater desalination plant to ameliorate the water services in an attempt to decrease the dependence on underground water.