Diminishing Water Supply in the West Bank

Diminishing Water Supply in the West Bank

The Israeli government has cut water supply significantly in the West Bank and occupied Palestinian territories. According to the Israeli Water Authority, the government has cut the water supply due to the hot summer and the overuse of the pipeline that runs through the area. Every summer brings water cuts to the area but this year has reached its max, according to Gaza Strip residents. One resident, Enas Taha, stated, “I have to consider and prioritise every single drop of water I use.” The Israeli Water Authority has only supplied water for one hour twice a week through their pipes. Due to this drought, the cost of water has spiked dramatically, making the commodity financially inaccessible for some families.

This demand for water has created a ripple of theft throughout West Bank communities. According to the Israeli Water Authority, about 5 million cubic meters of drinking water are stolen every year in the West Bank by Palestinians. The IWA has also accused Palestinians of stealing 5,000 cubic meters of water every day from the pipes. However, many Palestinians believe that “It’s the task of the [Israeli] government and the ministers energy and infrastructure to upgrade the water pipes” so that theft does not continue.

The dwindling water supply also highlights the present political distrust between Israel and Palestine. The Israeli government has said that the water is shared equally between Israel and Palestine, but according to Al Jazeera, Israel was given access to 71% of the pipelines while Palestine extracts only 17% of the water flow; the Oslo Peace Agreement of 1995 gave Israel control over most of the Gaza Strip’s water supply. These numbers were dictated by an agreement that was signed by both governments in 1996. This unequal access was supposed to last only five years, but the agreement still stands today. 

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