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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
27 January 2005

Big Difference in Quality of Life

HEBRON, West Bank -
The American government Thursday completed four small water and sanitation projects that have made a big difference in the lives of 85,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The projects, costing $2.65 million and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), significantly improved water and sanitation facilities for thousands of families in Gaza City, Rafah, Hebron, Tulkaram and Shoufeh.

"This initiative measurably improved the quality of life for Palestinians in areas where existing water infrastructure could not meet basic needs," said USAID’s Project Development Officer Tony Rantissi. "USAID supported similar work through grants to local and international NGOs and through direct contracts with local firms. Following on the success of this program, USAID plans to launch similar projects in the future."

Implemented under the "Small Water Infrastructure Fast Track Program", code-named "SWIFT", the projects included the construction of a 2,000 square meter water storage reservoir that is providing reliable water service to an estimated 36,000 people in Hebron.

More than 20,000 people in Gaza City benefited from a project that built 6.3 kilometers of sewers and connected homes along the route to the system.

In Rafah, USAID replaced 8.1 kilometers of water pipelines serving more than 10,000 people and 3.5 kilometers of sewers leading to some 600 homes.

In Tulkaram and Shoufeh, USAID designed and installed three water storage reservoirs, 5,000 meters of water mains, two deep-well submersible pumps and motors and four booster pumps to serve 15,000 residents.

All the SWIFT projects were overseen by CDM International Inc., an American global consulting, engineering, construction and operations firm. CDM provided design and tendering services, and managed construction by Palestinian sub-contractors including the Osaily Trading Contracting Co., El Khaesie Brothers Co., Abu Ziyadah Co., Arar Contracting and Engineering Center Construction.

A total of 240 Palestinians were employed on the SWIFT projects, which generated 19,000 person days of employment.

Since 1994, USAID has been the largest bilateral donor to the water sector in the West Bank and Gaza, with more than $300 million invested to improve water infrastructure and management of scarce water resources.

USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program and provides economic and humanitarian aid in more than 80 countries worldwide, has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza during the last decade.

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