Gaza’s water crisis

Gaza’s water is unclean, unsafe, and in short supply. Nearly two million of Gaza’s residents are
faced with a water shortage daily, with even less available during the summer months. Due to the
lack of supply, Gazans have the choice of using the contaminated water for domestic
consumption or buying private water, which is often also polluted, at an inflated price (1).
Gaza primarily relies on a coastal aquifer for water, but contamination and over-pumping over
the years has rendered it nearly useless. Furthermore, 40% of the water supplied from the aquifer
cannot reach Gaza residents due to damaged infrastructure that has not been upgraded in decades
(1). Gaza’s singular functioning power plant is also frequently shut down or damaged by
airstrikes, preventing any sanitation or processing capabilities (1). The longstanding Israeli
blockade of Gaza limits the entry of both clean water and the necessary equipment to maintain
and rebuild these sources of infrastructure, prolonging and worsening the condition of the water
supply (1).
According to the World Health Organization, the minimum requirement for water consumption
per capita is 100 liters daily, to be used for all home water needs, including drinking, cleaning,
and cooking. The average per capita consumption daily in Gaza is 88 liters, while nearby Israel
boasts a consumption count of 200 liters (1). An enormous disparity can be clearly seen beyond
the blockade.
Access to safe, drinkable water sources is one of many human rights restricted from Gaza by
Israeli aggression. Israel’s recent violation of the ceasefire and bombing of residential areas
throughout the Gaza Strip will only contribute to further devastation of infrastructure in the area
(2). While rebuilding efforts take place after every round of airstrikes, the constant attacks have
created conditions where less than four percent of Gaza’s fresh water is drinkable, and the
surrounding sea is polluted by sewage without the proper means for sanitization and desalination
(3). The restriction of the supply of basic human needs such as water and electricity and the
further destruction of the avenues necessary for replacing or supplying these resources is a
grotesque display of Israel’s multilayered violence towards Gaza.