The French government will contribute $13.2 million USD to a project to build a desalination plant in Gaza, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced on March 12 at the opening of the sixth World Water Forum.
The $395 million USD desalination plant will have a capacity of 100 million cubic meters, an amount Palestinian officials say is enough to meet the needs of Gaza residents and prevent water contamination there.
“This project is all-important for the people of Gaza in light of the severe shortage in water supply there and the threat posed to the groundwater reservoir,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said.
“Water in Gaza has become polluted and is becoming increasingly saline. The percentage of water suitable for human consumption does not exceed 10 percent. There is an urgent need for action to raise funds for this project.”
Persian Gulf countries have pledged to cover half the cost of the project, according to the Water Authority in Gaza. The European Investment Bank, the Saudi Fund for Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other international donors are also expected to help finance the facility.
Also last week, participants at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation Ministerial Water Conference in Istanbul called for providing support for drinking water projects in Gaza.
More than 95 percent of the population in the territory lacks access to clean water. Per capita water availability is only 80 liters per day, according to the Palestinian Statistics Bureau.