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Agricultural Water Use in the West Bank and Gaza

Irrigated areas near Israeli settlements in the Jordan River Valley. Photo: Cara Flowers.
Irrigated areas near Israeli settlements in the Jordan River Valley. Photo: Cara Flowers.

Agriculture is considered highly important to the Palestinian economy, as it makes up 25% of exports and directly employs around 117,000 Palestinians. However, agriculture contributes only about 12% to Palestinian GDP, while continuing to be the largest consumer of water, accounting for more than 62% of total use according to the World Bank. The amount of water currently used for irrigation is about 141 MCM/yr to irrigate around 200,000 dunum (1 dunum is about 0.1 hectare) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, of which 55 MCM/yr is used in the West Bank and 86 MCM/yr in the Gaza Strip.[i] In other words, each irrigated dunum in the Gaza Strip receives about four times more water per year than the average Gazan, while in the West Bank, each irrigated dunum receives between about five and 39 times more water per year than the average West Bank Palestinian.


[i] PWA, 2014c. Final Water Sector Policy and Strategy, 2014. Available in Arabic at: http://www.wafainfo.ps/pdf/Water_Strategy_2014.PDF, accessed 5 May 2015.