Baroness Tonge – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for International Development

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Tonge on 2016-06-27.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent assessment has been made of the access to clean drinking water and adequate water supplies for the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories.

Baroness Verma

Water and sanitation facilities in Gaza are declining. Demand for water exceeds supply by nearly four times and 96% of extracted water currently fails WHO safety standards. 40% of Gaza’s population receive just 5-8 hours of water every 3 days. In the West Bank the Joint Water Committee has not met for a number of years, which continues to stall agreement of water projects. In the West Bank, there are reports of reduced water supplies in large parts of the West Bank during Ramadan.

UK officials are in regular dialogue with Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), the UN, World Bank, EU and other development actors on energy and water issues in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We continue to press both parties to reconvene the Joint Water Committee to facilitate approval of projects that will improve Palestinian access to water. Through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, DFID has invested up to £1.24m to help vulnerable rural farmers in Area C and improve irrigation efficiency by rehabilitation of water systems. The UK supports partners such as the UN Works and Relief Agency, who provide basic services and repair water infrastructure in Gaza. Through the Climate Action for Middle East and North Africa programme, DFID has provided €600,000 to develop project preparation documents for the Gaza Desalination Plant.