Israeli Group says Discrimination in Water Allocation Exists

JERUSALEM, February 13, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, said Wednesday that Israel does discriminate in water allocation between Palestinians and Israelis and that Palestinians get much less water than Israelis.

B’Tselem was responding to allegations by Israeli officials that there was no discrimination in water allocations as claimed by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, during a speech he made at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

Israelis interrupted Schulz and walked out of the building when he said Palestinians get much less water than Israelis.

“Is there discrimination in terms of the quantity of water available to Israelis and Palestinians?” asked B’Tselem rhetorically. “Yes, there is discrimination in water allocation and Israeli citizens receive much more water than Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” it answered.

It said the government of Israel is largely responsible for this discrimination due its water policy.

“Minimal amounts of water are supplied to Palestinians and water from shared resources is unequally divided,” it said, adding that “existing infrastructure with high levels of water loss is not upgraded, no infrastructure is developed for communities that are not connected to the water grid and water infrastructure projects in areas located inside the Palestinian Authority are not approved.”

B’Tselem said data provided by the Israeli national water company, Mekorot, shows that while the average household water consumption in Israel is between 100 and 230 liters per person per day, way above the World Health Organization’s recommended a minimum of 100 liters per person per day, this is not the case for Palestinians.

“Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian Territory can be divided into three groups according to the amount of water available to them, which is less than the Israeli average in all three cases,” it said.

It said average daily consumption among Palestinians connected to a running-water network is about 73 liters. Even those who are connected do not necessarily have access to running water throughout the day or the year, and water is supplied intermittently, following a rotation program.

Palestinians not connected to the water supply network, who number around 113,000 people living in 70 communities, 50,000 of them in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control, rely on rainwater, which they store in cisterns, and on water sold in tanker trucks by private dealers.

In the southern West Bank, said B’Tselem, about 42 communities consume less than 60 liters per person per day and shepherding communities in the northern Jordan Valley consume only 20.

It also said that average consumption in the Gaza Strip is 70 to 90 liters per person per day and the quality of the water is extremely poor.

source : WAFA NEWS .