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The health risks posed by water pollution in the Gaza Strip

January 11, 2013 at 5:11 pm

The worsening problem of water in the Middle East is one of the most significant and dangerous struggles currently facing the region today. From issues of continuous deterioration in quality, to those of limited availability and high competition for that available, the situation is critical. All of this and more has made the search for alternative sources of this resource an imperative, and a solution to the problem needs to be speedily implemented before a point of no return is reached.

In the regional struggle for this indispensable resource, the situation in Palestine stands out above all others. Not only are Palestinian water resources continually faced with the danger of severe deterioration, depletion and draught, but additionally, Israel maintains illegal control over its surface drinking water basins and appropriates its subterranean reserves by pumping them into its settlements.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is singular given its steadily increasing population and the lack of any kind of balance between the water available in its coastal subterranean reservoir and the needs of its population. It is estimated that the population of the Gaza Strip is around 1.5 million and that this figure will reach 2.79 million by 2025. Looking at the current overall water consumption in Gaza estimated at between 150-170 million cubic metres and all sourced from the subterranean reservoir, the amount of water consumed in the Sector per person is approximately 80 litres a day. This figure is far below that recommended by the World Health Organisation which is 150 litres per person per day.