Israel has been cutting drinking water supplies for the Gaza Strip since last Wednesday, according to reports, the move had no prior indications or notice.
“Mekorot, the Israeli water supplier, told us last Wednesday that they would cut water for a couple of hours for maintenance purposes,” explained Maher Salem, the Director of Gaza’s Water Authority. “Since then, the water has been off. The pumping of water was not resumed as was agreed with them. This has affected the distribution of water in Gaza.”
According to Salem, nearly 200,000 Palestinians in the coastal enclave are benefitting from the water supply from Israel, which comes from deep wells located along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. Mekorot sells water to Gaza following an agreement signed last year.
The irrigation wells used by farmers near the Gaza border have dried up as Israel is taking the underground water sources through their deep wells. The Palestinians in Gaza are not permitted to dig wells more than 100 metres deep.
The residents in Gaza struggle due to lack of water. More than 95% of water in the territory is not for human consumption, according to World Health Organisation standards.