Question of Palestine home
30 April 1999
Note No. 177
Management Contracts in Water and Sanitation - Gaza's Experience
Jamal Saghir, Elisabeth Sherwood, and Andrew Macoun
The World Bank - Finance, Private Sector, and Infrastructure Network
In 1995, as the interim agreements between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the government of Israel were being finalized and signed, water and sanitation services in the Gaza Strip were in crisis. Gaza has an extremely dense population of about 2,500 people per square kilometer (the population is around 900,000). The thin strip of land's primary source of water, a shallow aquifer, was being mined at more than twice its estimated annual recharge rate, resulting in an increasing deterioration in quality.
Responsibility for water services was fragmented among four municipal water departments, twelve village councils, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. There was no accurate accounting of water production or consumption, though estimates put daily per capita consumption at less than 70 liters, well below levels in countries with similar incomes. About half of the water supplied was unaccounted for - the result of system losses, illegal connections, and nonfunctioning meters.
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