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Water Quality in the West Bank

Professor with students measuring water salinity in the West Bank Photo by Ali Jaber.
Professor with students measuring water salinity in the West Bank Photo by Ali Jaber.

Water quality in the West Bank is generally considered acceptable. There are no serious indications of pollution in the deep aquifers. However, there is some contamination of water in the shallow aquifers that are part of the Mountain Aquifer.

The water and sewerage infrastructure in the West Bank is in a state of disrepair and its reach is limited, especially in the north. In 2012, only 41% of Palestinians in the West Bank were connected to the sewage network. The rest of the West Bank’s Palestinian population relies on on-site sanitation systems (septic tanks, cesspits, pit latrines, etc.).[i] The percentage of citizens linked to the sewage network varies according to where they live: in urban or rural areas or refugee camps.

Furthermore, EWASH indicates that insufficiently treated sewage from the settlements presents an additional public health and environmental risk. The Palestinian Water Authority found that in the West Bank in 2012, around 35 MCM/yr of raw sewage flowed into the environment. One example is Wadi al-Nar (known as the Kidron Valley in Israel) where raw sewage flows both from Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and from Palestinian communities in the area, for 30 km along the wadi to the Dead Sea.[ii]

[i] PWA, 2012c. National Water Strategy for Palestine, Toward Building a Palestinian State from a Water Perspective, Draft Copy, 2012. Available at: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/system/files/documents/files/PWA%20-%20National%20Water%20Strategy.pdf, accessed 20 April 2015.
[ii] PWA, 2012b, Palestinian Water Sector. Status Summary Report: In Preparation for the Meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) 23rd September 2012, New York. Available at: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Water%2520summary%2520for%2520AHLC%2520report%2520FINAL.pdf, accessed 29 April 2015.