The West Bank water crisis: 5 things you should know

Palestinian girl drinks clean water

The right to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated under international law to ensure Palestinians’ basic need for water is met. Despite this, Palestinians are facing a water crisis of catastrophic proportions. Here are five things you need to know about the water crisis in the West Bank.

#1 Israel controls all of Palestinians’ water resources

The Oslo II Accord, signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1995, gave control of all water resources in the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel.  80% of the water from the mountain aquifer, the main source of water in the West Bank, was given to Israel, while the remaining 20% was left for Palestinians.

#2 Palestinians in the West Bank receive even less than what was agreed in 1995

While the population of the West Bank has doubled since the agreement was signed in 1995, they still only receive 75% of the original amount of water supply agreed upon.

#3 Palestinians have to buy back their own water from Israel

The Palestinian Authority (PA) buys back their own rightful share of water from Israel to compensate for continued water shortages. Due to poor water infrastructure in the West Bank, a third of this water is lost to leakage.

#4 Palestinian water consumption in the West Bank falls well below the World Health Organisation’s minimum standard

The minimum amount of water consumption recommended per person per day is 100 litres, according to the World Health Organisation. Palestinians in the West Bank consume less than 84 liters per person a day- this amount includes commercial use, so the average person in the West Bank in reality consumes much less than this.

#5 Communities can go for days without any water at all

The scarcity of water in the West Bank means that the PA must rotate water supplies between neighbourhoods. As a result, many communities can go without any water supply at all for days at a time. For impoverished families, this means buying water at extortionate prices, plunging them into deeper poverty.

Take action now

It’s time to #pipeup for water equality #ForPalestine. We are calling on all our supporters to urge Penny Mourdant MP, Secretary of State for International Development, to ensure all measures are taken by the Israeli government to facilitate the access of clean drinking water in the occupied Palestinian territories. Take action and send a pre-prepared letter here.

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