The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is no longer just the problem of the 1.8 million Palestinians who live there or of the Hamas regime. The chronic power deficit is creating environmental repercussions that threaten Israel’s water reservoirs, sewage system and environmental quality. In May, Gaza’s sewage system collapsed, and raw sewage reached the water reservoir of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. Gaza’s sewage plants have ceased functioning due to the lack of electricity, and left wastewater flows into Israel untreated.
“Without electricity, water cannot be produced and wastewater cannot be treated,” said Eilon Adar, a hydrologist and the former director of Ben-Gurion University’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology in Beersheba. “An aquifer knows no borders. Water does not stop at a border. At the moment the damage is negligible, but Gaza is now dumping its untreated wastewater near the Beit Lahia wastewater treatment plant. This site, founded a number of years ago with Israel’s agreement, is only about 200 meters [660 feet] from Israel’s border and the [effluent] ‘lake’ seeps into the coastal aquifer.”