Technical Assistance to PCU Gaza
The situation relating to the water sector in Gaza has long been of serious concern. The supply of fresh water to the population of approximately 1.6 million in Gaza currently relies almost totally on groundwater. However, the groundwater is massively over-pumped and the aquifer shows clear signs of imminent collapse, with rapidly advancing saline intrusion. Severe contamination – mainly due to wastewater – is also evident, and hardly any of the groundwater meets internationally accepted standards for domestic use. The population of Gaza is therefore exposed to very high levels of risk: the treatment of water is too expensive for many of the inhabitants and water-borne diseases continue to be prevalent among the population.
In late 2008, a report (now commonly known as the “PWA Audit”) was prepared for the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) on Refocusing of the Water Sector Infrastructure in Palestine. In this report, the need for a “Gaza Emergency Technical Assistance Program” (GETAP) was envisaged. The first component of this Emergency Technical Assistance Program has now been the publication of a study on a broad mix of possible options for increasing the water supply in Gaza, called the “Comparative Study of Options for an Additional Supply of Water for the Gaza Strip” (known as “CSO-G” and published in July 2011). In total, this study suggests nine interventions that are inter-linked and together present a coherent approach to addressing the critical issues in the water sector in Gaza.
As the first of these interventions, the CSO-G suggests the establishment of a Gaza Programme Coordination Unit (G PCU), required to drive and coordinate all the proposed interventions. The PWA has asked Austria to support it in establishing this G-PCU. The purpose of this grant and project thus is to significantly improve the likelihood of effective and efficient implementation of the set of nine interventions recommended by the Comparative Study of Options (CSO-G).