There are insufficient quantities of water available in the West Bank and Gaza (WBG) to meet Palestinians’ needs. At the household level in 2014 (most recent calculations), Palestinians in the West Bank received on average about 79 liters per capita per day (l/c/d)1 compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended minimum of 100 l/c/d. Scarcity of water stems from an inadequate sustainable supply of water, as well as existing infrastructure that is both inadequate and incapable of delivering the required amounts of water. Human and economic development are impeded due to lack of water supply. Water losses in the West Bank remain high due to aging and deteriorated pipes, as well as illegal tapping; lack of proper maintenance has resulted in frequent system operation failures. In Gaza, 95 percent of water from the Coastal Aquifer does not meet basic standards for human consumption. Only 31 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank is connected to a sewerage network, and only 5 to 10 percent of Palestinian wastewater is treated. According to a United Nations report,2 about 90,000 cubic meters of raw sewage flows from Gaza into the Mediterranean Sea or percolates into the Coastal Aquifer every day, creating a risk of waterborne disease outbreaks.
Multiple interventions are needed to address these challenges. The USAID/West Bank and Gaza water program plans to implement activities in the water sector to meet human and economic development needs of Palestinians. The program will focus on three components: water supply, sanitation, and institutional strengthening.