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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
12 January 2005

OPT: USAID brings water to 150,000 Gazans

Tel Aviv - The American people are financing the construction of an emergency pipeline that will bring fresh, clean water to 150,000 people in Gaza, U.S. aid officials announced Wednesday.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the project which will cost almost $2 million.

The project, considered part of the Oslo II agreement, offers the only viable short-term option for meeting the rapidly growing demands for high quality water in the Gaza Strip.

"This is one part of a comprehensive Gaza water supply strategy," said water engineer Karen Sayer. "We are implementing this portion now because it is urgently needed, as people in this portion of Gaza have severe water shortages in the summer months."

Sayer said the new pipeline would help meet the immediate need for more drinking water for people in Gaza City and at the same time would alleviate the environmental problems caused by over-pumping of the Gaza coastal aquifer.

The pipeline will connect Israel's Mekorot pipeline at Nahal Oz to the Gaza City reservoir and will service the eastern portion of Gaza City. The pipeline will measure nearly 12 kilometers with nine kilometers on the Israeli side and 2.7 kilometers in Gaza. USAID is financing the Gaza portion.

The pipeline will carry 5 million cubic meters of water per year but could deliver more if demand is strong and both sides agree to increase the flow.

USAID is a U.S. government agency that provides economic development and humanitarian assistance overseas. Since 1994, USAID's West Bank and Gaza Mission has distributed more than $1.3 billion in assistance to Palestinians.

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