Palestinian girls carry empty containers on March 22, 2016 in the town of Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip. International World Water Day is marked annually on March 22 to focus global attention on the importance of water and advocate for sustainable water resource management. / AFP / MAHMUD HAMS Image Credit: AFP

Ramallah: Drinking water in the Gaza Strip does not meet international standards, the Palestinian National Authority said on Tuesday.

The announcement, which corresponded with World Water Day, said that 97 per cent of the drinking water in Gaza is not drinkable.

The Israeli occupation forces tightly control all Palestinian water resources and denies the Palestinians right to access those resources, forcing them to seek alternative solutions.

The Palestinian Water Authority said that the low daily water allocation per capita triggered the need to create water-specialised institutions to conduct studies on water needs and to search for alternative water sources.

In 2012, 400 governmental institutions worked mainly on gathering, processing, purification and distribution of water to improve large-scale water projects such as dams and artisan wells.

Those institutions also implemented small projects to enable residents to access water for domestic and agricultural purposes through small wells.

Another solution involved the treatment of grey water.

The Israeli occupation also obstructs Palestinian construction of wastewater treatment plant, thus denying the Palestinians the right to benefit from treated water.

The scarcity of water combined with Israeli restrictions on accessing water resources forces Palestinians to purchase water from the Israeli water company Makorot.

In 2014, Palestinians purchased 63.5 million cubic meters of water from the Israeli company.

“Water pressure problems further complicate the already abysmal water situation in Gaza. Nearly every house needs electric water pumps,” said Jamal Al Dardasawi, an expert in water affairs in Gaza.

“Due to power shortages in Gaza, water pumps cannot operate,” he told Gulf News.

The Gaza Water authority told Gulf News that the coastal strip urgently needs at least 100 million cubic metres of drinking water and an extra 85 megawatts of electricity for basic services in the strip, where the current power capacity is only 28 mega watts.