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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
26 August 2005

U.S. Funds Major Water Pipeline for Gaza

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday the launching of the regional water carrier project that will ensure a steady supply of fresh water to more than 1 million people in Gaza.

Construction of the 38-kilometer-long pipeline will be funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The initial funding is $30 million, with an additional $36 million to be allocated in 2006.

The water carrier will improve water distribution in the area between Gaza City at the northern end of the Gaza strip and the southern city of Khan Younis.

The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) made construction of this water pipeline one its highest priories for enhancing available water resources.

Currently, rain replaces only about half the groundwater that Gaza residents extract each year. Such over-pumping of the Gaza coastal aquifer causes serious environmental problems and is hazardous to public health and agriculture.

The most viable solution is to blend water from different sources to produce a supply that meets international health standards.

"This project is part of an Integrated Aquifer Management Plan developed for the Palestinian Water Authority, and is a key component to a comprehensive water supply system for the Gaza Strip" said USAID Director of Water Resources Alvin Newman. "It will assist the Palestinian Water Authority in delivering high quality water to be distributed to all residents throughout the Gaza Strip and ensure equitable distribution of water from all potential sources."

USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program and provides economic and humanitarian aid in more than 110 countries worldwide.

Since 1993, Palestinians have received more than $1.7 billion in U.S. economic assistance via USAID projects - more than from any other donor country.

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