Palestine’s water resources are all water shared with Israel mainly, and other neighboring countries. Palestine does not have any endogenous water resources. The first include:
- Surface water, including the Jordan River and Wadi Gaza,
- Groundwater resources, as aquifers, underlying the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
At present, Israel exploits over 90 percent of all transboundary water resources for exclusive Israeli use and allocates less than 10 percent for Palestinian use. This comes despite the fact that the great majority of the areas where the various aquifer basins are fed, or “recharged,” lie within Palestine. As a result, each Palestinian receives an average of less 73 liters per capita per day for domestic purposes, versus 300 liters per capita per day for an average Israeli. On average, we survive on less than the minimum requirement of 100 liters per day per capita recommended by the World Health Organization.
- Israel draws water from Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) and transports it out of the Jordan River Basin to coastal cities and the Naqab (Negev) Desert through the National Water Carrier. The amount of water diverted (about 440 to 600 MCM/yr) is such that no natural water flows naturally out of Lake Tiberias, to the lower part of the Jordan River. This is one of the main reasons for the decrease in the water level of the Dead Sea.
- The availability of fresh water has decreased markedly on a per capita basis since the 1995 Interim Agreement.
- The per capita consumption of water in Israel is over four times greater than that in the oPt.
- The groundwater in Gaza is in a state of crisis, due to massive Israeli pumping from large wells surrounding Gaza, by over-pumping inside Gaza in re action to Israeli imposed water scarcity, and due to contamination resulting from the forgoing two factors and the Gaza Strip’s dearth of waste processing capacity. As a result, 95 percent of the water is non-drinkable. Around 60 percent of diseases in the Gaza Strip result from poor water quality. According to the World Bank and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, only five to ten percent of drinking-water wells in Gaza are suitable for the provision of safe drinking water. At its present rate of deterioration, the southern end of the coastal aquifer is expected to collapse by 2020.