Gaza’s population of 1.6 million Palestinians are without clean drinking water.
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Gaza’s population of 1.6 million Palestinians are without clean drinking water. The only source of water they can access—the underground water aquifer—is being over-utilized and is now highly polluted with sea water and sewage intrusion. The UN warns that unless a solution is found to provide Gaza with safe and affordable water, Gaza’s aquifer will become unusable by 2016, and irreversibly damaged by 2020.
Today, only 5% of the water Gazans extract from the Coastal aquifer is now safe to drink. Most families in Gaza are forced to buy drinking water from private companies at high cost, with some paying as much as a third of their income on water.
The portion of the Coastal aquifer running beneath Gaza represents only a small percentage of the total freshwater resources available to Israelis and Palestinians. Israel continues to exploit 90% of the available freshwater for exclusive Israeli use – particularly the underground Mountain aquifer in the occupied West Bank – while Palestinians have access to less than 10%. It does so in violation of international water law, which calls for these resources to be shared “equitably and reasonably” between Palestinians and Israelis.
There is a solution, and it starts with the implementation of Palestinian water rights. If Palestinians have access to their rightful share of the available water resources, and if Israel lifts its blockade over the Gaza Strip, which restricts water imports as well as the entry of materials and goods needed to upgrade and repair its deteriorating water infrastructure, many of Gaza’s water problems would be solved.
The Thirsting for Justice campaign for Palestinian water rights needs your help! If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, campaign ambassadors will lobby European governments and deliver them your signatures, and demand that they take concrete action. Don’t wait until Gaza’s aquifer collapses, sign this petition now, and help us to ensure water rights for Gaza!
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 United Nations Country Team in the oPt, Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?, August 2012, retrievable at: http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/file/publications/gaza/Gaza%20in%202020.pdf