Access to sanitation and clean drinking water is a human right that many Palestinians are denied.
Palestinians have no control over water resources and access to water is prevented due to restrictions on movement and the destruction of infrastructure. Families are forced to drink highly contaminated water or buy clean water supplied by private tankers: a choice that most Palestinians cannot afford to make.
The water supplies in Gaza contain contaminants including high levels of nitrates which pose serious health risks to babies and children (World Bank Report, April 2009). 95% of the water in Gaza’s aquifer is contaminated and unfit for consumption.
Because of lack of treatment capacity and electricity, Gaza authorities must release around 80,000 cubic meters of sewage into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. Raw sewage is present on the streets and flooding causes further problems on the ground for people in already squalid refugee camps.
In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians must cope with severe restrictions on water use and only have access to well below the daily allowance as recommended the World Health Organisation. In the refugee camps of Lebanon, the poor infrastructure and general condition of the camps has meant that clean water is rare and people must rely on expensive bottled water.