Israel to Double Amount of Water Supplied to Gaza

Decision stems from ongoing lack of potable water in the Strip.

Palestinian children collect water in Khan Yunis
Palestinian children collect water during a five-day truce in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 14, 2014. Reuters

The Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday that Israel will double the amount of water it supplies to the Gaza Strip.

The IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said the water supply will increase from 5 million cubic meters per year to 10 million.

Mordechai noted that the decision stems from the need to increase the amount of water available to Gaza residents, and added that he hopes that Hamas will not divert the water, as it diverts materials meant for rebuilding to other ends.

In January 2014, Israeli experts warned Palestinians that the water shortage in Gaza made an immediate additional supply of high-quality water necessary. Without it, it would be impossible to provide for the basic needs of Gaza's residents, and the Strip would become ridden with disease due to the quality of the water.

Prof. Uri Shani, former head of the Israel Water Authority, said then that there was already a high prevalence of disease among Gazan children due to contaminated water, and such disease could spread to Israel.

Gideon Bromberg, head of EcoPeace Middle East, said at the time, "We're standing at the precipice of disaster, because soon there will be no water in Gaza. No fence will stop a million and a half people that aren't getting solutions from the Hamas government. They will try to get into Israel to find potable water."

In February 2014, B'Tselem published a report claiming that over 90 percent of the water in Gaza was not suitable for consumption, and that only a quarter of Gazan households had access to running water every day, and only for a few hours at a time.

The fighting in Gaza last summer only made the situation worse, due to the severe damage to Gazan infrastructure.