Water Resources in the Middle East

pp 417-426

A Seeping Timebomb: Pollution of the Mountain Aquifer by Sewage

  • Zecharya TagarAffiliated withFriends of the Earth Middle East
  • , Tamar KeinanAffiliated withFriends of the Earth Middle East
  • , Gidon BrombergAffiliated withFriends of the Earth Middle East

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Untreated sewage of over 2 million people on the recharge area of the Mountain Aquifer threatens to pollute the most significant, shared water source of Israelis and Palestinians. The vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank, and large parts of the Israeli settlements, have none or inadequate sewage treatment facilities. The international community, led by Germany and the U.S., has committed funding for several sewage projects, however, only one full scale project has been implemented to date (one pre-treatment facility was completed in 2005) This chapter examines the factors preventing projects’ implementation, and proposes recommendations to all parties involved.

This article was prepared and presented in 2004, and appears here without change. However, several noteworthy developments took place since its original presentation. These include: launching of a sewage pre-treatment facility in Tul Karem (German funded); the proposed sewage project for Nablus East was cancelled; establishment of a sewage removal project on the Kanah Stream for some Israeli settlements; Enforcement measures were taken by the Israeli Environment Ministry against the settlement of Ariel on the issue of sewage treatment; the USAID froze its Hebron wastewater project, owing to the establishment of the Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority.


Development Middle East mountain aquifer transboundary pollution water