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Gaza on Brink of Water Crisis

Scarce rainfall, coupled with the Israeli blockade, have limited Gaza’s ability to address its water shortage and poor sanitation, reports Hazem Balousha.
A man holds a bottle filled with water from the Gaza Strip that is unsuitable for drinking during an event in Gaza City on June 14, 2012 as fifty international organizations and UN agencies urged Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip to mark the fifth anniversary of the strengthening of that measure after the takeover of the Palestinian territory by Hamas. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB        (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/GettyImages)

According to figures issued by public and private institutions, the Gaza Strip is in imminent danger of a water crisis. Fresh water for domestic and agricultural use has become scarce. Moreover, 95% of underground water for domestic consumption is contaminated to varying degrees, which portends the spread of diseases among locals and would make the sector unlivable.

The Gaza Strip, which is characterized by a semi-arid climate, had been suffering from scarce rainfall over the past 10 years, amounting to 300 mm per year. This has adversely affected the underground water reserves.

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