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Water crisis in Gaza
Water crisis in Gaza
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By Fedaa al-Qedra

Gaza, ALRAY- -The world celebrates on 22nd of March each year  the International World Water Day, each year it concentrates  on different aspects of freshwater. In 2014 the UN drew the attention to water as a source of energy.

Cherishing the fact that Gaza does have access to a semi-damaged water aquifer, unlike some 768 million people -as (UNESCO) and UN Water Agency put it- living without access to water, is dimmed by the fact that the 1.8 million area suffers from constant power cuts, posing the danger of dysfunctional waste sanitation facilities at times, and the difficulty of pumping water into houses.

"Life is becoming much difficult; we are deprived of essential basic needs. Can you imagine life without water? The situation in Gaza is intolerable; water is interrupted for long hours," said Safia al-Haj age 52 from Gaza City describing her feelings when the water supply is cut off.

“When there is water, electricity is cut off, so they couldn’t run the water pump machine that to fill the water-tank,” Al-Haj told  ALRAY, adding “we cannot practice our life normally and live under emergency state until the water and power come back together."

Mohamed Fathi from Rafah said that they couldn’t bear the water cuts so he thought to solve this problem by buying a new tank to save water for time of need.

He explained that the water problem is linked with electricity, "when we have electricity the water cut off and vice versa; there is no electric power to run the water pump when water is available to fill the water tank located on the top floor of our building,”

As for Halla Ahmed, 25, "when  water is cut off for long times, sometimes for complete two days, I store water in small potsthat are not enough for hours; in this case we suffer buying freshwater."

The average consumption of water per citizen in Gaza is 80 litres per day, while the global rates determine  150 liters of water per person per day, it makes  the citizen in the Gaza area suffer from adequate supply of water by half, according to global averages.

Khalid, 15 years of age from Khan Younis, is forced to carry a gallon of water for a distance of 200 meters every day in order to provide  his family with fresh water “We do not have money to buy filtered water"

To fill and carry gallons of water from water plant to house is a tiring exercise, according to Khalid.

Most Gazans buy water filtered in 300 to 400 desalination units scattered over the coastal enclave to dispense with the excess salinity of the municipal water.

“We are obliged to buy desalinated water because the municipal (aquifer) water received from pipe is not potable, unfit for drinking,” Hossam said.

Director of Coast Water Authority MontherShoplaqspoke to ALRAY "the electricity crisis affects the water sector, because the irregular electricity supply led us to the use of generators to pump water for 16 hours, although the generators are only ready to be run for 8 hours , so a lot of them need repairs andsometimes need replacing, But the financial situation of the Coast Water Authority does not allow to maintain those generators and this affects the supply of water negatively.

Shoplaq emphasized that the water crisis in Gaza Strip is very serious, if a strategic solution is not found soon in the year 2016 there will be no sufficient amount of water, and the citizen will have no water except seawater. He pointed out 95% of Gaza water is from sea water and the 5% available water will dry up in 2016,and then be a major water crisis.

Shoplaq added that the solutions for the water crisis in Gaza Strip is very costly and in desperate need of fund and resources, and with the closing of Gaza crossing it is another obstacle to get the desalination equipment to treat sea water coming into Gaza. thecrossing should allow equipment and generators and parts, for Gazaans to not suffer due to lack of water. Very important issue that Palestinian Authority  need to include on their agenda when going to UN.