by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Abu Latifa, via Electronic Intifada
“We live in an area where there is no water,” says Ibrahim al-Majaida, a resident of al-Mawasi, an agricultural area near Khan Younis in the southern Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.
The average Palestinian family in Gaza receives running water only four to six hours, every three to five days, due to chronic electricity shortages resulting from Israel’s decade-long siege.
This forces many to buy water from expensive and unregulated private sources.
“We travel two kilometers to bring water to our homes,” al-Majaida says.
More than 96 percent of Gaza’s water supply is unsafe for drinking.
Desalination plants are functioning at 15 percent of their capacity due to electricity shortages.
The diminished capacity of water and wastewater treatment facilities means that 108 million liters of raw sewage are being dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every day.
The disrupted operation of treatment facilities has led to sewage spills in various areas of Gaza, such as al-Mawasi.
“Even plants and vegetables don’t survive in it because of the contamination,” says Rasha al-Majaida, another resident of al-Mawasi. “Not even birds drink from it.”