Tamar Dressler
Al-Monitor
November 29, 2012 - 12:00am
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/business/2012/11/world-bank-tries-to-save-gazas-...


The World Bank is trying to help repair Gaza’s precarious water and sewage systems. Polluted water in Gaza has had an adverse effect on the health of local residents, and the situation is only getting worse. A UN report from last August maintains that the population in Gaza, which currently totals 1.64 million and is expected to increase by half a million by 2020, might lose its main water resource — the subterranean coastal aquifer. Predicting that by 2016 the aquifer could no longer be tapped, the report further states that by 2020 the damage will become irreversible.

To a great extent, Gaza Strip residents are dependent on subterranean water resources. Although this is the main accessible source, the water is nonetheless highly polluted. Most of the sewage is channeled to ponds, wadis and the ocean. Untreated sewage poses a health risk to the population as well as the remaining water resources, causing also environmental damage.

“Water supply here is a far cry from any health standard in the world. Water pollution is conducive to many illnesses, mainly among children,” says Muhammad al-Qashaf, who is in charge of international cooperation at the Gaza-based Ministry of Health.

“We’re very worried by the lack of a clean water supply and the deterioration of water quality in the Gaza Strip,” says Mariam Sherman, the West Bank and Gaza director for the World Bank. “The new project will save Gaza’s water and sewage system,” he added. 




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