Japan Grants $100,000 to Bethlehem Water Network Rehabilitation

BETHLEHEM, January 29, 2015 (WAFA) – Japan granted Thursday about $100 thousands in support of the water network rehabilitation project in Za‘tara town to the southeast of Bethlehem.

According to a press release issued by the Representative Office of Japan to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Za‘tara Municipality would accordingly receive about $101,000 to rehabilitate a 2,570- meter-long old damaged water pipes in 5 locations with 2-inch underground galvanized steel pipes.

The project would benefit around 2,000 residents who are suffering from insecure quality and lack of water, providing them with sufficient supply of clean tap water and contributing to the reduction of water losses.

According to Za‘tara Town Profile prepared by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ), the town’s total population in 2007 was 6,280, including 3,215 males and 3,074 females. There are 1,046 households living in 1,080 housing units.

The current 12-kilometer-long water network providing the town with water was established in 1972. About 97.1 percent of the housing units are connected to the water network, 1.3 percent is dependent on rainwater harvesting cisterns and 0.7 percent is dependent on the purchase of water tanks, while the source of water supply is unknown for the remaining units (0.1%).

The quantity of water supplied to Za’tara in 2009 was about 159,615 cubic meters a year; therefore the estimated rate of water supply per capita is about 70 liters a day. However, this amount of water is not consumed by many residents due to water losses which are about 28 percent.

The losses happen at the main source, major transport lines, distribution network, and at the household level, reducing the rate of water consumption per capita to 50 liters per day. This is a low rate compared with the minimum quantity proposed by the World Health Organization, which is 100 liters per capita per day.

Za‘tara municipality assumes responsibility for the maintenance of water and collecting bills.

The town is gripped with a water crisis as water supply is water is cut off for long periods of time in summer and winter in several neighborhoods of the town for several reasons, most importantly Israeli domination over Palestinian water resources and high rate of water losses.

Israel dominates Palestinian water resources, limiting the amount of water earmarked for Palestinians, who are supplied with insufficient water quantities to cover their domestic needs. Besides, as a the rate of water losses is high as water network is dilapidated (rickety) and is in need of rehabilitation and renovation.

Moreover, the practices of citizens like creating illegal connections, water theft, and damaging water meters increase the proportion of water losses.

The grant was signed by Representative of Japan to the PA and Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs Junya Matsuura and Mayor of Za‘tara Ahmad Rashid at the Representative Office in Ramallah.

This project is funded by the Government of Japan through the Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).