Alan Johnston, the BBC corresponded kidnapped in Gaza, related in an interview that at a relatively early stage, he started suffering from all kinds of aches because of the water he drank. This was the same water that the kidnappers drank, but Johnston’s unaccustomed body sent warning signals: This is not water that is fit for drinking. And this is the water that reaches most of the taps in the Gaza Strip. Salty, in a few places brackish to contaminated, with an oily consistency. That is clearly felt when bathing.
The reason is an ancient one: overpumping because Gaza must make do with the waters from its aquifer alone. It is as if we were to say to the residents of Be’er Sheva: make do with the water that flows nearby. The water sources in the rest of the country are not for you.
Over the last few years, there have been some improvised private and public solutions. Private water purification plants in homes and commercial companies that sell purified water.
The municipalities, for their part, set up large brackish water desalination facilities and several central taps. Thousands of people go there daily to fill up jerry-cans with water that will not taste like it came from a puddle and will not cause diarrhea, infections, kidney problems and who knows what else.