The West Bank is facing grave water shortages, largely because of Israel’s “discriminatory” policies, said B’Tselem, Israeli human rights group.
The group criticises the distribution of joint water resources, as well as limits placed by Israel on the Palestinian Authority’s ability to drill new wells.
“It will have serious repercussions on the economy and health”, B’Tselem said.
About 66 litres a day, is the West Bank per capita water use, which represents just two-thirds of the recommended international minimum
Matters will get worse in the months to come, added the group, because of the accumulated effects of a series of dry years.
B’Tselem says that for Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the per capita water consumption is 3.5 times that of Palestinians.
Water consumption per head of the population is calculated by including the consumption of livestock.
‘Israel’s discrimination policy’
And consumption is far below the overall average in some parts of the northern West Bank, which is a largely agricultural area, B’Tselem says.
“The chronic water shortage results in large part from Israel’s discriminatory policy in distributing the joint water resources in the West Bank and the limits it places on the Palestinian Authority’s ability to drill new wells”, its statement says.
Water shortages in the Gaza Strip have been highlighted in a recent United Nations report, which said a lack of spare parts and fuel meant sewage plants could not function properly.
No immediate comment about the B’Tselem report came from the Israeli military administration in the West Bank.
A spokesman for Israel’s water supplier told Jerusalem Post that it provided 500 million cubic meters per year, which is 30% more than required under peace accords signed in the mid-1990s.
He added that Israel continued to increase supply to Palestinians in the West Bank, though the country was facing water cutbacks and severe shortage itself.