Water crisis in Gaza strip

According to a report of PWA, the water crisis levels in all over the Gaza Strip have risen to an alarming stage; over 95 percent of the Palestinian territory’s aquifer is polluted with high levels of nitrates and chloride. Different tests show that pollutants in Gaza water are three times higher than the normal level. Moreover in most parts of the Gaza Strip, the pH level of water is below the standard level of WHO. According to the UN report, if the deterioration of water crisis would increase at current rate the coastal aquifer water will be unusable by 2016 and permanently damaged by 2020.

Coastal Aquifer is the main source of Gaza’s water; they extract about 200 million cubic meters a year. Due to over extraction of the water for decades, significantly lowered the groundwater level. As a result the aquifer’s water becomes more salted by seeping the seawater. The people in Gaza fall into more difficulties to drink or cook with this salty and bad tasted water.

The people of Gaza are blockade by Israeli. During the Israeli military aggression the sewage treatment plants of Gaza are attacked and leaked the sewage line, as a result further the water resources are contaminated. For sack of security reasons, Israel also put stiff restrictions on the entrance of water treatment equipment into the blockaded area. Moreover many people are not connected with sewage system yet. Hence household waste flows into cesspits, it seeps into the groundwater and polluted. Due to sewage seeping into the aquifer, the water is contaminated by micro-organisms.

The nitrate levels in the water increase due to the use of pesticide in agriculture and sewage seeping into the aquifer. WHO allowable limit of Nitrate concentration less than 50 mg/l whereas most part of the Gaza (about 88%) are ranges from 50 to more than 200 mg/l.
By drinking this polluted water increase the health risk of people in Gaza, especially for infants. Many waterborne diseases are occurs including acute diarrhea, parasite infections, liver and kidney diseases, and methemoglobinemia (‘blue baby syndrome).

To resolve this serious water crisis in the Gaza Strip, it should stop the illegal siege in Gaza so that all the materials and equipment enter into the Gaza Strip for the water and waste water treatment projects.

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