1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza currently live without clean drinking water. Not fit for human consumption, their water is causing chronic health problems and contributing to high rates of child mortality. With more than 4,500 people per square kilometer, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Already living in severe poverty, some families are forced to spend a third of their income on privately bottled drinking water. Residents are dependent on an underground water aquifer that is corroded and contaminated with seawater and sewage. Israel confiscates 90% of available freshwater for itself, while less than 10% is allocated to Palestinians.
Israel is in violation of the International Water Law, which insists available water resources are to be shared “equitably & reasonably” between Palestinians and Israelis. Neglected and unmaintained, the damage done to Gaza’s aquifer is becoming irreversible.
The UN warns that Gaza’s aquifer will become certifiably unusable by 2016 unless an immediate solution is implemented.
Zander Swinburne, “The Water Is Running out in Gaza: Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms As Territory’s Only Aquifer Fails,” The Independent, June 30, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-water-is-running-out-in-gaza-humanitarian-catastrophe-looms-as-territorys-only-aquifer-fails-8679987.html.
Ruth Pollard, “Gaza’s Children Live and Die on Contaminated Water,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 23, 2012, http://www.smh.com.au/world/gazas-children-live-and-die-on-contaminated-water-20120622-20tlf.html.https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Gaza_to_run_out_of_drinking_water_by_2016
Student Researcher: Pippa Whelan (College of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (College of Marin)