PA and Israel negotiate over Palestinian water shortage

Head of Palestinian Water Authority says Israel wants to increase price of the water it supplies to the PA from NIS 2.60 for one cubic liter to NIS 3.70, concedes that there are additional water problems being caused by poor management on the Palestinian side.

By Israel Hayom Staff



In an interview with Palestinian news agency Ma’an, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority Shadad al-Ateli said on Wednesday that Israel is seeking to increase the price of the water it supplies to the Palestinian Authority, raising it from 2.60 shekels for one cubic liter to 3.70 shekels. Al-Ateli claimed the change will cost the Palestinian Treasury around 700 million shekels (which is the equivalent of around $177 million).

Palestinian carries empty water canisters. | Photo credit: Reuters

Palestinian carries empty water canisters. - Photo: Reuters

Al-Ateli also told Voice of Palestine radio that Israel was not committed to water agreements under the Oslo Accords, and that the quantity of water the Palestinian side received this year was less than it received in 1995.

However, he did concede that there were additional water problems being caused by poor management on the Palestinian side, a claim Israel has also made. Al-Ateli said Palestinian officials are considering instituting a distribution schedule to better deal with future water shortages.

In early June, seven rural villages near Bethlehem endured about 15 days without running water. Local Palestinian officials said the problem originated due to outdated agreements that do not account for population growth.

According to its agreement with Israel, the Palestinian Authority can only use about 20 percent of all water originating from the West Bank. Any water beyond that amount needs to be bought by the Palestinian Authority from Mekorot, Israel’s water company.

In a report published in 2009, human rights organization Amnesty International stated that the water situated in the West Bank is being unequally distributed. “While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 liters a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 liters per day, four times as much,” the report said.

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, added that “Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources… In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse.”

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