After Water System, Israel to Build Sewage Line for Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
A sewage treatment facility. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

After revelations that Mekorot was building a new water system to supply more and better-quality water to Gaza, Yediot Acharonot has reported that Israel will be building a new sewage line for Gaza. The line will run from heavily populated neighborhoods in northern Gaza and pipe sewage directly to a treatment plant in the Gaza border area.

Currently, sewage from Gaza ends up in Israel anyway – as Gazans dump their sewage into several streams that run from Gaza into Israel. Thousands of cubic meters of raw sewage is dumped into Israel daily in this way, and it has become a major ecological threat. The sewage is harming agriculture in the area, and officials are concerned that it will seep into the aquifers in the region, polluting water supplies that hundreds of thousands of people rely on. Officials in Israel believe there is no alternative but to build the sewage line.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Mekorot Water Company, in coordination with the Water Authority, is building a new water transfer system for Gaza. When completed, the new pipe will connect between the Israeli and Gaza water systems, with Mekorot releasing water to Gaza authorities for distribution to residents.

The project will cost “several million shekels,” the report said, quoting quoted Mekorot officials as saying that the project was being carried out without any connection to the security situation, as it was necessary to ensure the future of the water economy of Israel and Gaza.

Israel currently supplies water to Gaza via three pipes. Prior agreements between Israel and Hamas require supplying Gaza with 10 million cubic meters of water; Israel actually sends about 11.5 million. In the recent talks on understandings between Israel and Hamas in the wake of the recent rocket attacks on southern Israel, it was decided that Israel would help upgrade the Gaza water system, which Israeli officials said was “near collapse.”

The dispatching of water in a more efficient manner, Mekorot officials said, will alleviate the need for Gazans to drill further down into the Gaza aquifer, which is very low and is in danger of filling up with sea water – something that would be devastating to Gaza’s agriculture.