B'Tselem Publishes New Report:"Not Even a Drop - The Water Crisis in Palestinian Villages Without a Water Network"
Some two hundred thousand Palestinians living in 218 West Bank villages are not connected to a water network, and therefore have no running water. This population suffers a severe water crisis. They are unable to meet their basic water needs, including basic hygiene, house cleaning and using the toilet, and as a result, face significant health risks.
The restrictions on movement imposed by the IDF since the beginning of the intifada aggravate the crisis and make it difficult for water tankers to transport water to the needy communities.
The source of the water shortage in the West Bank as a whole, and in villages without a water network in particular, derives mostly from two factors:
- the extremely inequitable division of the water sources shared by Israel and the Palestinians
- Israel's failure to invest in water infrastructure throughout the years of occupation.
Consequently, the average Israeli consumes six times as much water as the average West Bank Palestinian resident.
Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Israel has continued to maintain almost complete control of the water sector in the Occupied Territories. Every new water project, including projects in Area A, which is under "complete" PA control, requires the consent of Israel's representatives on the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee. If the project is to be implemented in Area C, Israeli Civil Administration approval is also required.
Because of the dire situation, B'Tselem urges Israel's government to:
- operate, at least until the rainy season and in addition to the regular supply provided by the Mekorot water company, regional filling stations throughout the West Bank, at which owners of water tankers can purchase water for supplying residents lacking sufficient water;
- ensure that the water tankers are allowed to move about freely and without delay at checkpoints.