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Assessment of Water Availability and Access in the
Areas Vulnerable to Drought in the Jordan Valley

Summary

The Jordan Valley has always been considered one of the most important strategic, economic and cultural areas in the Palestinian territories, affected by drought as well as by Israeli restrictions. It has been studied by several actors during the last years and data rationalization is extremely important to share information.

The aim of the project is to define the gaps in knowledge on the availability of and access to water for 28,246 people living in 65 communities identified in the target area, and integrate it with new information in order to provide basic tools for defining domestic water needs and critical vulnerabilities in the Jordan Valley.

Following the experience carried out by GVC and their partners UAWC, PHG and LRC in a similar study in the southern part of the West Bank, bibliographic data and field assessment have been collected and analyzed to provide a literature review, an analytical data base based on collection sheets used in the field visits, 18 thematic maps and a synthetic analysis about the present status of the water availability for human and animal consumption in the area.

Human water consumption varies significantly between villages (103 l/c/d) and Bedouin communities (34 l/c/d). The water source highly influences consumption rates, as the 15 communities served by networks present an average consumption of more than 100 l/c/d while others consume around 30 l/c/d.

65% of the population, living in 15 villages, are covered by networks with an average price of 4 NIS/m³. The remaining population is supplied by private and PWA wells, filling points and springs with prices rising to 15.6 NIS/CM for the springs, from 15 to 40 NIS/CM for the wells and from 15 to 30 NIS/CM for filling point, influenced by transport costs for water trucking. Irrigation system, agriculture wells and mixed network represent other sources of water with very varying price.

17,747 of TLU animals assessed in the area are consuming an average amount of 70 l/LSU/d.


1. Introduction

1.1 Background

The Jordan Valley is one of the most important agricultural areas in occupied Palestinian territory. It is considered the ‘food basket’ for Palestinians, having unique climate conditions that allow the production of food throughout the year. This unique condition has attracted many communities to the area. They are mostly farmers or herders who work in agriculture or animal husbandry.

Water for irrigation is a crucial resource for food production, thus its availability and accessibility is imperative for the local population. The Jordan Valley is classified as arid, with rainfall not exceeding 300 mm per year in the northern part and less than 150 mm in the southern part of the study area. The change in rainfall quantity and consecutive drought events witnessed over the past five years in the area have affected the livelihoods of the communities living across the Valley. However, the magnitude of impact varies from one place to another, especially among the marginal and Bedouin communities in the area. The region’s political sensitivity and Israeli restrictions on movement and access play a major role in limiting residents’ possibilities for improving their livelihoods.

With over 81%1 of its area classified as Area C (under full Israeli control), residents of the Jordan Valley face difficult living conditions: limited access to water resources; movement restrictions (residence, farming and grazing activities); limits in the expansion of the agricultural sector; policies that destroy agricultural activity; confiscation of fertile land and control of Palestinian access to local and Arab markets.

For these reasons, the proposed project addresses the baseline conditions of availability and accessibility to water and will shed light on the major challenges to residents’ livelihoods in the area.

1.2 Objectives
Define the number of communities and the gaps in knowledge on the availability of and access to water in the target area, and integrate it with new information in order to provide basic tools for defining domestic water needs and critical vulnerabilities in the Jordan Valley.

1.3 Outputs
The proposed outputs can be summarized as follows:

1. Collection of existing databases
Define the various projects and activities that have been implemented in the area by various actors and collect all the available information, maps and data regarding the study area.

2. Updated map of communities with basic data on GIS support
Map the communities and their location with GPS coordinates and collect basic data such as population per community, related number of animals, domestic water consumption and main income sources.

3. Updated map of water sources per community on GIS support
Define the current water sources of each community and map them with GPS coordinates in order to define those communities that are unserved and set priorities of intervention for water consumption.


Endnotes
1 Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA. The Feasibility Study on Water Resources Development and Management in the Jordan Ricer Rift Valley: Final Report, 2008


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